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Old 06-20-2001, 03:58 PM   #1
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Post Reply to Robert Miles - Jesus Accursed of God?

An Open Letter To Mr. Robert Miles and Mr. Farrell Till

Gentlemen:

Recently I came across a treatise written by Mr. Miles, “Jesus Accursed of God?” Therein are three statements that I would like the both of you to re-examine:

1. Paul ‘knew that Jesus was not hanged on a tree, but was instead hung up on a cross.’

2. Paul ‘mistakenly understood Deuteronomy 21:23 to mean that the act of hanging someone up in a tree would cause him or her to be accursed of god.’

3. Paul attempted to ‘justify his theory that Jesus became a "curse" in order to redeem us.’

The “Authorized or King James Version of the Bible” is not “The Bible”, but simply a translation. This translation is almost 400 years old and although of great historical value, has translation errors besides being written in a language that goes back before the beginning of the 17th century and therefore difficult to understand. Why not use modern translations in discussing the above statements? This is only reasonable. In any other subject we would certainly want to take advantage of the latest research and scholarship. Why not apply the same method to Bible study?

First: “How Can A Righteous Man Be Accursed of God?”

Second: Paul knew that Jesus died not on a tree nor on a cross, but on a stake. Modern research has shown that certainly not the Jews nor necessarily the Romans hung criminals on the cross that we are familiar with today, but on upright stakes. Please read the article “Jesus Died On a Stake” below which provides this information. The article below will show that both in Deuteronomy 21 and in Galatians 3, the correct translations of the Hebrew and Greek words rendered ‘cross’ or ‘tree’ should be translated as stake.

Third: Jesus Released the Jews From The Curse of The Law Not “Us”.

Part 1:

Can A Righteous Man Be Accursed of God?

At Galatians 3:10-14 we read: “For all those who depend upon works of law are under a curse; for it is written: “Cursed is every one that does not continue in all the things written in the scroll of the Law in order to do them.” Moreover, that by law no one is declared righteous with God is evident, because “the righteous one will live by reason of faith.” Now the Law does not adhere to faith, but “he that does them shall live by means of them.” Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: “Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake.” The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham might come to be by means of Jesus Christ for the nations, that we might receive the promised spirit through our faith.

Why did Jesus have to be put to death on a stake?

Paul did not ‘mistakenly understand Deuteronomy 21:23 to mean that just the act of hanging someone up in a tree would cause him or her to be accursed of god.’ Paul was well versed in the law.

Consider:

Taken out of context, the phrase “something accursed of God is the one hung up” (NWT) sounds illogical, namely that the act of being hanged on a stake was sufficient to make one ‘accursed of God.’ However, a righteous man can become “accursed of God” in the context of Deuteronomy 21:22-23: “And in case there comes to be in a man a sin deserving the sentence of death (1), and he has been put to death (2), and you have hung him upon a stake (3), his dead body should not stay all night on the stake; but you should by all means bury him on that day, because something accursed of God is the one hung up; and you must not defile your soil, which Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance.” (NWT)

Please note, this is a procedure that would have been followed by a Jewish Court under the Mosaic Law. One could not impale a man thinking this would make him wicked. That is not what Deuteronomy 21:22-23 states. Consider the steps involved.

First, a man would have to be charged and convicted of a crime or sin worthy of death. All crimes under the Mosaic Law were sins against God. The nation of Israel was a Theocracy not a Democracy or Republic. Therefore any crimes were not committed “against the State”, but were sins against God.

Second, the man would have to be put to death. Stoning an individual to death was the predominant method of execution as shown in previous verses of Deuteronomy and other chapters of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. The witnesses who testified against the man would be required to throw the first stones. This served to inhibit false testimony.

Third, the dead man’s body could be impaled or hung on a stake, then he would be “something accursed of God”. Only in case of serious sins such as blasphemy would this be done. Note that the law violator was already dead. Also, one certainly could not “take the Law into his own hands”, hang someone on a stake and therefore make someone “accursed of God”.

Now the phrase “accursed of God” is literally translated “malediction of God”. Impalement was not always done after the execution by stoning, but only in the case of certain severe crimes or sins, for example blasphemy. Finally, the dead body would have to buried on the same day as the impalement. Again, it was the decision of a Jewish court operating under the Mosaic Law to impale a man’s dead body that made him a “malediction of God” or “something accursed of God”. Did this mean that God himself had cursed this man?

Since imperfect men composed Jewish courts under the Mosaic Law, could a “righteous and innocent man” be charged with a sin worthy of death and then be executed? Certainly. Consider the case of the righteous man Naboth as recorded at 1 Kings chapter 21. As a result of the testimony of false witnesses, Naboth was charged and convicted with a crime worthy of death and executed by stoning. The account does not say his dead body was impaled, but if his body had been impaled, he would have been “something accursed of God” or a “malediction of God” and “a terrible disgrace” (An American Translation) according to Deuteronomy 21:22,23. To passersby who did not know the facts surrounding this trial, the impaled man’s dead body would have been viewed as “something accursed of God”, and Naboth might have viewed as a blasphemer and wicked. So, can a righteous man be “accursed of God”? Yes, for this decision to have a “malediction of God” placed on a righteous individual was made by the court even if it was a travesty of justice. Just as courts make mistakes today so courts in Bible times made mistakes as well.

So, was a “malediction” or “curse” placed upon a man by a Jewish court valid? That is reserved to God ‘the Judge of All’ to decide. Would this mean that God would have cursed Naboth, a righteous man? No. God was not part of that mock Jewish court. Jehovah God left it to his people Israel to follow his Law through Moses in righteous and worthy way, and for the most part the nation did not do so. So not all maledictions were valid.

Now consider the case of Jesus Christ. He was charged and convicted with the crime or sin of blasphemy by the Sanhedrin or Jewish court. Next, he was executed by being nailed to a stake. Finally, he, as a dead man, was allowed to hang on the stake. Of course, the charge of blasphemy was a lie perpetrated by false witnesses and the Jewish religious leaders. The leaders and false witnesses in this mock trial would have to cast the first stones to execute Jesus. They cowardly did not do so for two reasons; they feared the people who held Jesus to be a prophet, and they knew their case against Jesus was a falsehood and thus no case. Nevertheless, the Jewish religious leaders wanted to do away with Jesus, so they manipulated the Romans to perform the execution. However, the Romans executed criminals by impalement on stakes, not by stoning. So Jesus was impaled and died on the stake. His dead body hung on the stake for a period of time before finally being removed and placed in a tomb on that same day. So Jesus trial execution and impalement, even though unjust, proceeded according to Deuteronomy 21:22,23. Thus Jesus became “something accursed of God” or a “malediction of God” and “a terrible disgrace”.

Therefore, the apostle Paul was correct in his application of Deuteronomy 21:23 to Jesus’ impalement. Paul did not have to quote all the verses surrounding the phrase he quoted to make his point. Why? Because he was addressing Christians some of whom were either Jews by nature or who had been Jewish proselytes, and who been under The Mosaic Law. The cancellation of the Mosaic law had only been a recent occurrence. The congregations of Galatia understood the Law and also were well aware of how Jesus died.
Finally, Mr. Miles seems to understand that Paul said “Jesus became a ‘curse’ in order to redeem us” the ‘us’ here being mankind or at least those who believe in Jesus. If this is what Mr. Miles is saying, then he is incorrect as the next part will show.

Part 2:

Jesus Releases the Jews From The Curse of The Law

The only ones who needed to released or ‘redeemed’ from the ‘curse of the law’ were the Jews and Jewish proselytes who attempted to gain righteousness and everlasting life by works of the Mosaic Law. Jesus did not need to be hung on a stake to release the rest of mankind from the curse of The Law. This was just not Paul’s ‘theory’, but Jesus himself knew before his death that his being hung on a stake while dead was his destiny and would serve to release the Jews from the curse of the Law if they would accept this provision from God. This means those Jews would have to become followers of Christ. Since the Law of Moses was fulfilled, they would only need to follow the spirit of the Law not the letter of the Law. Consider:

Paul writes at Galatians 3:10-14: For all those who depend upon works of law are under a curse; for it is written: “Cursed is every one that does not continue in all the things written in the scroll of the Law in order to do them.” Moreover, that by law no one is declared righteous with God is evident, because “the righteous one will live by reason of faith.” Now the Law does not adhere to faith, but “he that does them shall live by means of them.” Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: “Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake.” The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham might come to be by means of Jesus Christ for the nations, that we might receive the promised spirit through our faith.

The Jews were the ones under the malediction or curse of The Law because they failed to keep it. So, how could the Jews be released from this valid malediction? Jesus stated, “Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill; for truly I say to YOU that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one particle of a letter to pass away from the Law by any means and not all things take place.” (Matthew 5:17,18). So, Jesus fulfilled the Law. How? Well, as the Apostle Peter wrote, “He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22) Yes, Jesus kept the Law perfectly and was the only one who ever did.

Therefore, although Jesus had to die to redeem mankind and provide the ransom, he did not have to be impaled for all of mankind (that is in the context of Galatians 3). The impalement was mainly to release the Jews from under the Law’s curse. By living a perfect life under the Law Jesus thus fulfilled the Law. Upon his death Jesus removed the Law’s curse on the torture stake by taking the Law’s curse upon himself. Thus the Apostle Paul also said at Colossians 2:13,14: “Furthermore, though you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcised state of YOUR flesh, God made YOU alive together with him. He kindly forgave us all our trespasses and blotted out the handwritten document (the Mosaic Law) against us, which consisted of decrees and which was in opposition to us; and He has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake.”
Of course the majority of the Jews did not accept Jehovah God’s merciful provision. Only a 'remnant' of the Jews were saved. (Romans 9:27) Paul said “...we preach Christ impaled, to the Jews a cause for stumbling...” (1 Corinthians 1:23) Therefore the majority of the Jews remained under the Law’s curse.

Part 3:

Stake or Cross Which Is It?

Christendom has long used the Cross in their worship. However the pagans used the Cross in their worship to false gods. As to whether Jesus died on a straight upright pole or two-beamed pole is not significant to removing the Curse of the Law from the Jews. However, the weight of the evidence indicates that Christ was impaled upon an upright stake. The cross was later adopted into the Church. The cross as we know it today was used in ancient sex worship!

The following references are for your information:

The Imperial Bible-Dictionary says: “Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole, and this always remained the more prominent part.”

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1979) states under the heading “Cross”: “Originally Gk. staurós designated a pointed, vertical wooden stake firmly fixed in the ground. . . . They were positioned side by side in rows to form fencing or defensive palisades around settlements, or singly they were set up as instruments of torture on which serious offenders of law were publicly suspended to die (or, if already killed, to have their corpses thoroughly dishonored).”

Douglas’ New Bible Dictionary of 1985 under “Cross,” page 253: “The Gk. word for ‘cross’ (stauros; verb stauroo . . . ) means primarily an upright stake or beam, and secondarily a stake used as an instrument for punishment and execution.”

W. E. Vine says: “STAUROS denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross.” —Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 256.

Vine continues: “By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ.”

The Cross in Ritual, Architecture, and Art: “It is strange, yet unquestionably a fact, that in ages long before the birth of Christ, and since then in lands untouched by the teaching of the Church, the Cross has been used as a sacred symbol. . . . The Greek Bacchus, the Tyrian Tammuz, the Chaldean Bel, and the Norse Odin, were all symbolised to their votaries by a cruciform device.”—By G. S. Tyack, London, 1900, p. 1.

The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons (London, 1896), states: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross. . . . It is not a little misleading upon the part of our teachers to translate the word stauros as ‘cross’ when rendering the Greek documents of the Church into our native tongue, and to support that action by putting ‘cross’ in our lexicons as the meaning of stauros without carefully explaining that that was at any rate not the primary meaning of the word in the days of the Apostles, did not become its primary signification till long afterwards, and became so then, if at all, only because, despite the absence of corroborative evidence, it was for some reason or other assumed that the particular stauros upon which Jesus was executed had that particular shape.”—Pp. 23, 24.

The Companion Bible, under the heading “The Cross and Crucifixion,” notes: “Our English word ‘cross’ is the translation of the Latin crux; but the Greek stauros no more means a crux than the word ‘stick’ means a ‘crutch.’ Homer uses the word stauros of an ordinary pole or stake, or a single piece of timber. And this is the meaning and usage of the word throughout the Greek classics. It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another. . . . There is nothing in the Greek of the N T even to imply two pieces of timber.”


Dictionnaire Encyclopédique Universel (Encyclopedic Universal Dictionary) says: “For a long time we believed that the cross, considered a religious symbol, was specifically for Christians. This is not the case.”

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 meaning a ‘stake’ or ‘upright pale.’ The cross was not originally a Christian symbol; it is derived from Egypt and Constantine.”


The New Catholic Encyclopedia says: “The representation of Christ’s redemptive death on Golgotha does not occur in the symbolic art of the first Christian centuries. The early Christians, influenced by the Old Testament prohibition of graven images, were reluctant to depict even the instrument of the Lord’s . . . . The cross comes to be represented in the time of Constantine.”

The New Encyclopædia Britannica: “On the eve of Constantine’s victory over Maxentius in 312, he saw a vision of the ‘heavenly sign’ of the cross, which he believed to be a divine pledge of his triumph.” It also says that thereafter Constantine promoted the veneration of the cross.


Strange Survivals says of Constantine and his cross: “That there was policy in his conduct we can hardly doubt; the symbol he set up gratified the Christians in his army on one side, and the Gauls on the other. . . . To the latter it was the token of the favour of their solar deity,” the sun god they worshiped.

“It cannot be denied that the cross had been employed as a religious symbol by the pagans. It is found in different forms on a large number of Asiatic, European, and even American monuments.” (A French Catholic dictionary)

The Ancient Church by W. D. Killen says on page 316: “From the most remote antiquity the cross was venerated in Egypt and Syria; it was held in equal honour by the Buddhists of the East; and, what is still more extraordinary, when the Spaniards first visited America, the well-known sign was found among the objects of worship in the idol temples of Anahuac. It is also remarkable that, about the commencement of our era, the pagans were wont to make the sign of a cross upon the forehead in the celebration of some of their sacred mysteries.”

“Crosses, moreover, we neither worship nor wish for. You, indeed, who consecrate gods of wood, adore wooden crosses perhaps as parts of your gods. . . . Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it.” (Minucius Felix writing to the pagans in Octavius as stated The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 191)

I hope this information settles the issue: The Messiah had to die and be impaled on a upright stake to release the Jews, who showed faith, from the Law's curse.



[This message has been edited by genesis75 (edited June 20, 2001).]
 
Old 06-20-2001, 04:42 PM   #2
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Amazing, our posts are 32 minutes apart and we both use the ANTE-NICENE FATHERS!!!

I believe that Jesus was crucified on a cross and these crosses were actually tent-posts built for visitors of Jerusalem (Qumran).

I shall re-read your post in the near future.

thanks, offa
 
Old 06-24-2001, 11:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by offa:
Amazing, our posts are 32 minutes apart and we both use the ANTE-NICENE FATHERS!!!

I believe that Jesus was crucified on a cross and these crosses were actually tent-posts built for visitors of Jerusalem (Qumran).

I shall re-read your post in the near future.

thanks, offa
</font>
Why did you start a new therad instead of answering him where his is?

"hung on a tree" was an euphemism for cross. See Ray Brown Death of the Messiah Sometimes the Romans may have used stakes but there is no evidence that it was the norm. We know the used crosses much more commonly; Jesephus speaks of them.


As for the Till statements, no one thoguht that being hung up on a tree or a cross made someone accurssed. It is a sign not a cause, and the problem was if they were left up all night.
 
Old 06-24-2001, 06:06 PM   #4
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Metacrock:
Why did you start a new therad instead of answering him where his is?
</font>
What? I thought I posted first! Damn.
Unless, maybe, you are talking about something else?

By the way, one time I responded to a fudies thread and got scolded. Right here on infidels. "Stay the hell off my thread" or something kind of close. I usually steer clear of your post because they seem to be your "cup of tea." I am not interested in what you say and you are not interested in what I say, so, let's post our own.

thanks, offa
 
 

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