Was Jesus Christ crucified on the cross or on a stake?


Some people came to us to present themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses and to convince us that the Lord Jesus was crucified not on a cross but on a stake. Is this true? 

No, the statement of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is as untrue just as the other teachings of heresy they spread are false. Jesus was crucified on the cross. The Greek word σταυρός which is translated into Romanian as “cross” has the meaning of a pillar or wooden beam but especially refers to its vertical placement and the fact that it is an instrument of torture and execution. For the notion of stake in the sense referred to by Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Greek language has the word στύλος.

I would like to draw your attention to two biblical arguments that anyone can show to Jehovah’s Witnesses and for which you do not need to know Greek. In the Gospel of Mark, the account of the crucifixion of Jesus says:

And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Matthew 27:37 NASB)

If the Savior had been crucified on the stake, as Jehovah’s Witnesses say, then it would have been impossible for the inscription to be placed over the head, but instead over His hands.

Another proof is in the Gospel of John. After the other apostles told Thomas that they had seen the risen Savior, he replied:

So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. (John 20:25 NASB)

You see, Thomas, who was an eyewitness to the crucifixion, refers twice to nails in the plural, which means there were more than one. If the Lord Jesus were to be crucified on a stake, one nail would be needed, but two were used because the Lord Jesus was crucified on a cross.

This is how Jehovah’s Witnesses portray Jesus’ crucifixion.

In a desire to assert their heretical teaching, Jehovah’s Witnesses also try to bring the text of the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians as evidence: 

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13 NASB)

The word wood here is the Greek ξύλος and refers to wood as the material from which the instrument of torture and execution was made and not to its form.

Frankly, this statement by Jehovah’s Witnesses makes little sense. Even if Jesus was crucified on a stake (which was not the case), it is important to understand that this is how his saving sacrifice was made, and anyone who believes in Him can be saved. My view is that Jehovah’s Witnesses come up with this baseless “argument” just to divide and discredit the Church and God’s Word. I will conclude with the words of the apostle spoken to Timothy that apply to all of us Christians:

But they will not make further progress; for their foolishness will be obvious to all, just as was that also of Jannes and Jambres. Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! (2 Timothy 3:9-11 NASB)

Translated by Didina Vicliuc