Stauros, as well as -stauroo- which becomes ‘crucify,’ is, as we noted, from the base -Stao: to stand/ as in: abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, set. Interestingly, a comparable word is -tithemi- or -theo- which means: to place/ as in: advise, appoint, bow, commit, conceive, give, make, ordain, purpose. Properly speaking though, the latter would be used in a passive or horizontal posture, and so, different from -stao- which properly denotes an upright or active position.
“Whoever does not bear that which has been Placed upon him, according to that which Stands in him, and come after Me cannot be my disciple.”
In this context the full depth of bearing one’s cross begins to surface, and a new trail is opened. What is the truth value of a concept like that represented in the word -Stao- throughout the bible? Can the meaning of the cross be discerned apart from the event on Golgotha?
A small step into a Hebrew word study leads us to parallel terms of both -stao- and -theo- as -amad- and -yasab-, meaning: to stand and to place, respectively. In the Old Testament the majority of instances pertaining to the active position that one ”stand” is given as -amad-.
“And the people saw a cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door.” ex33:10
“Neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.” lev18:23
“You shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you.” IIch20:17
At a glance these all appear to refer to an outward stance, that is, a literal spatial act. Which of course, need not be refuted here. It can be seen though, when taken in relation to the relevance of distinguishing soul qualities partially shown above, that just as self-denial has more than one aspect even before what would be perceived outwardly, so also “to stand” is a loaded activity, as far as the bible context goes.
To further elucidate on the principle underlying the concordant value of “to stand” or “to place” in terms of an overall biblical perspective, I will draw attention to the above three excerpts, which I close almost at random. I wanted to show a differentiated use of the same word. The duration to which something stands, biblically, we know, is unto the end of the aeon, also called forever. So that in principle, if I may be allowed to give a loose example, to the “pillar standing at the tabernacle door,” we see connected, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” rev3:20
and that the tribes of Judah should “set themselves, stand still and see,” one possibly may tie, “Rise up, and stand forth in the midst” luke6:8
and the woman standing before the beast in confusion, becomes the mother of confusion sitting upon the beast.
In other words, the relativity is meant as a tool. A tool to understand the will of God. So that, at last, we may in knowledge say, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Coming now to our point of departure, there lay a kernel of light within everything that was presented above. A light necessary to see through the mist enshrouding the meaning of the cross as more than a metaphor. Of course, the use of metaphor is certainly a necessary language tool, and because the concept of taking something literal has diminished into a form in bondage to materialism, metaphor is the seeming alternative. One generally lacks the mental condition that comprehends the idea of, or the instance of something being spiritually literal. One may readily anthropomorphize an act of God, let’s say, but resists seeing a spiritual event hidden behind the plot of an apparent historical story. The majority waver when the intellect is called upon to grasp a spiritual fact. The rule is to replace intellectual “Unknowables” with a confession of faith.
Naturally, the esotericist treads a different path. He is committed to a science of the spirit. So that Holy Writ becomes the revelation of a cosmic code. A constellate pattern. A hint of the All. God.
Following the trail of the Greek -stauros- to -stao- we have seen that the core of the Cross is defined as that which Stands. That which has been accomplished. That which abides. Stao. Then traversing to the Hebrew correlatives, we find the meaning continues to support the overall spirit of the inquiry, through -amad- and -yasab.
One further examination of the Hebrew concept of -stand- is given in a primitive root word -Qum: to rise// abide, accomplish, decree, endure, enjoin, enemy, make good, lift up, help to lift up (again), raise, remain, rise, rise up(again), stand, to make stand, strengthen, succeed, sure.
The first time this word is used scriptually is in Leviticus 27:14 “And when a man dedicates his house to be holy to the Lord, then the priest shall set a value for it, whether it is good or bad as the priest values it, so shall it _stand”
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it–” Luke 14:28
The next occurence is from Numbers 30. It is here we shall find a master key to the meaning of the Cross that must be borne.
to be continued…