Pagan origins of the Cross
According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, the shape of the cross had its origin in ancient Babylonians of Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt centuries before Christianity was born.The cross was not widely used in mainstream Christianity until the time of the Roman emperor Constantine.The Vestal Virgins of pagan Rome wore the cross suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns of the Roman Catholic church do now. In 46 B.C., Roman coins show Jupiter holding a long scepter terminating in a cross.It was regarded as a protector and was placed upon tombs. The pre-Christian cross of one form or another was in use as a sacred symbol among the Chaldeans, the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, and many other nations. The Spaniards in the 16th century found it also among the Indians of Mexico and Peru.
By the middle of the third century 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…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, but its symbolic teaching was now different. Thus the pagan cross symbol was “Christianized” into mainstream Christianity.
The Bible clearly teaches that Christians must not practice or tolerate any pagan ways, customs, traditions or practices (Deuteronomy 7:1-6; Jeremiah 10:1-5; Revelation 18:1-4).