A Cross, a Tree, a Torture Stake

A Garden Promise Fulfilled |Listen to the Audio Version

a cross, a tree, a torture stake

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil," they exchanged their close relationship with God, for Satan's lie. Yet, God, in his great mercy and love, made a promise, to the Serpent no less, that he would send Someone to rescue people, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel" Genesis 3:15.

In Acts 5:30 we read, "The God of our Fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree." Here, the cross is described as a tree. But why is that? The Greek word for tree is "xulon," meaning anything made of wood used to support the cross-bar of a cross for crucifixion. In other words, a stake or pole used to support the cross-bar for crucifixion torture. This verse harkens back to Deuteronomy 21:22-23 which says, "If a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is executed, and you hang his body on a tree, you must not leave the body on the tree overnight, but you must be sure to bury him that day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse."

This is exactly what the Apostle Paul says Jesus accomplished for us, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'" Galatians 3:13.

It is interesting to note that the tree in the garden, which Adam and Eve ate from in disobedience, and resulted in the curse of all living things, is remedied by Jesus who bore the curse of our sin on another kind of tree "xulon." The irony is that this tree of death, the cross of Christ, has become a tree of life for all those who look to him for salvation. 

Jesus said, "'And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw everyone to Myself.' He said this to indicate the kind of death He was going to die" John 12:32-33. 

The promise God made in the garden to crush the serpent's head, was fulfilled by Jesus when he was crucified for our sins, and then rose from the dead. Jesus Christ's resurrection defeated death and Satan's power for those who trust in him. So now, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter, the finisher, of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross*, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" Hebrews 12:2.

Copyright 2023 S.A. Keith 

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*Here the word, “cross” is “stauros” in Greek, referring to the beam that was carried by the criminal and placed at the top of the vertical pole (the stake) where the criminal was then crucified. 

What shape was the cross of Christ? Learn more.

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