Return to About Mormons home

Accusatory Questions

How can Nephi refer to crucifixion and the cross? These weren't known in 600 B.C.

by Jeff Lindsay

Nephi did prophesy that Christ would be lifted up on the cross (1 Nephi 11:33; cf. 1 Nephi 19:10,13; 2 Nephi 6:9; 2 Nephi 10:3; 2 Nephi 25:13), and described the saints as those that endure the crosses of the world (2 Nephi 9:18). Was the concept of crucifixion really unknown in Old Testament times? Rabbi Yosef posted this explanation on Feb. 14, 1998 on the "Jewishness of the Book of Mormon" mail list:

The Aramaic word for "cross" in the Aramaic NT mss. is Z'KIFA from the Aramaic Z'KAF meaning "to lift up" or "crucify."

The same word appears in an Aramaic portion of the Tenakh (Old Testament) in Ezra 6:11 where a crucifixion is described. So crucifixion does date to Old Testament times.

Even if crucifixion were not known in 600 B.C., a prophet of God could nevertheless describe the practice.

(See The Book of Mormon home page; Response to Criticism home page; Accusatory Questions home page)

All About Mormons