Last and First – Matthew 17 to 21

Matthew 17 to 21 is what I call the Forth Block of Kingdom Teaching, and we will focus on the “first to last, leaders to servants, greatest to the humble” teachings Jesus gave His disciples. These chapters start with the Transfiguration and go to Jesus delivering His first sermon from the Two Mounts. I have used mentions of John the Baptist to frame the blocks of teachings about the Kingdom. Yes, there are other thoughts and teachings in this period. Three standout examples are: Jesus was questioned twice on divorce, He uses children several times in His teachings, and foretells His death twice. If I extend the block into His Sermons on the Two Mounts (the fifth block), He tells two parables about weddings. Jesus’ changes in physical locations are also worth noting.

This Last to First series of studies has already challenged some long-held paradigms. That is never comfortable; it is necessary but not pleasant. There are many first/last ideas in these chapters. After playing the tour guide of Jesus’ travels I will focus on three related kingdom thoughts.

His Final Pilgrimage – I will not go into great detail here, as I have done some of that in other studies. Even His movements have a “least to great” lesson in them.

  • He is on the mount where He is transfigured and meets with Moses and Elijah. (John the Baptist is mentioned here.)
  • Capernaum, for the last time.  
  • Jesus leaves the land of Naphtali and Zebulun (Galilee). He “goes over” the Jordan and to the area across from Jericho.
  • If you check with the other Gospels, He does several trips to the west bank.
  • He begins His final trip to Jerusalem by crossing the Jordan and going to Jericho. He is busy here and possibly was there for several days.
  • He travels to the Mount of Olives where He sends for a donkey.
  • Jesus does a “victory ride” into Jerusalem and inspects the Temple. (John the Baptist is mentioned in His first of two sermons on Tuesday of Holy Week.)

I know that I have a tendency to single out a story or thought. It seems that the Holy Spirit has grouped several separate lessons together to highlight a theme. In this block, the timespan is probably several weeks and completely different locations. The audience however is the Twelve Disciples and the others in His camp.

Children – Chapter 18 opens with the disciples wanting to know who was going to be the greatest (megas) in the kingdom of heaven. There is no doubt, in my mind, that they were asking about an earthy kingdom. I believe that Jesus planted the seed for this question when He asked about the Temple tax. The Master Teacher did a show and tell by using a little (mikros) child to focus on being humble (tapeinoō). The test for this teaching unit came in 19:13-15. The disciples did not make an “A” so Jesus did a quick reteach.

The Father then supplied an object lesson of a rich young ruler who did not want to become humble. This “righteous” child of Abraham, this megas, knew something was missing. Jesus quizzed him on Commandments 5-9, and he was good. I always find it interesting that Commandments 1- 4 were not mentioned. (Exodus 20) You may form your own opinion on that. His title and money had not brought him peace and he doubted his salvation. The young man did not like Jesus’ answer, he wanted a spiritual answer and was told to do away with his earthy hinderance. (I have not forgotten the l. Earthy = dust.)

Put a Selah in-between 19:22 and 23. Ignore the French printer’s chapter break and look at 19:23 to 20:16 as one whole, new lesson.

Last/First – The Spirit and Matthew changed terms in this new teaching, but the thought stays true. The “camp of disciples” saw the megas’ first (prōtos) position, and they knew he had salvation, because! Jesus segways from the earthy kingdom and moves to the Heavenly one in 19:28. The word/phrase is “palingenesia” Strong G3824. (All of the Greek is from Mounce.) It means renewal, new birth, or regeneration.

Your heart and vision will determine how you view first (prōtos) and last (eschatos). Your starting position is important. There is an interesting switch in last/first from 19:30 to 20:16, see my first post in this series.

John’s Eema – I have no doubt that John and James’ mother was in the camp that left Capernaum. There is no reason not to think that she had heard all of the teachings and witnessed the miracles that were done by Jericho. Like the young ruler, she asks a kingdom question. Was she talking about the earthy one or the Heavenly one? Jesus’ answer is about the Heavenly one. It is not settled in my mind if the disciples realized that Jesus was talking about a different kingdom than what they thought was coming. In verse 25, He meets them where they are and talks about leaders (megas) and servants (diakonos). See Paul and Slaves. Mom’s question makes you think about the disciples’ question in Chapter 18.

Jesus has told His disciples several times that He is going to Jerusalem to die. Did that sink in before the Garden? The questions and indignant feelings make me want to say no. But they heard and eventually lived the teaching, may we be able to say that also.   


Before the Rich Man – In this series of teachings Jesus answers how to be the greatest or first in the kingdom. The lessons had a “least” action: finding lost sheep, forgiving someone, and helping little children come to Jesus. The last or least path is the way to go.

The Kingdom Teaching – Matthew 19:28 and 20:1 give this idea a heavenly setting. In between those verses, it is very heavenly. The parable in chapter 20 lends itself to the Earth. This really does need more study.

After the Teaching – John’s eema is an example of what not to be. Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem is an interesting lesson about the topic. Jesus rode into the city as a “great or first” and carried a cross out of the city as a “servant or last”. Then because of the shame-ridden cross, He became Lord and Master of all.


Crossing Jordan has been a metaphor for dying and going to Heaven (the Promised Land). I have heard that metaphor stems from Joshua leading the Children from the east bank to the west bank of the Jordan River. Going across the Jordan was part of life in Israel and is mentioned many times from Judges to David. There were no bridges, it seems, and people waded across at fords or shallow spots.

There are Biblical characters that crossed the river in the same direction as Joshua at key times in Israel’s history. I am looking at their stories in this post. I will start with someone who went contrary to the metaphor and had his way back blocked with a flaming sword and cherubim.

Adam and Eve – They started in Paradise and were sent to the East (Genesis 3:24). I believe there was a Garden with five rivers, and two very important trees, and Adam was responsible for tending it. God has always shown an interest in this region. Terah was sent there but he did not go, Abram did. Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High God was in the area. I said that because it makes more sense to think the Garden was here because this place means something to God. Before the objections start, I live in America, and we have recycled names pinned on many cities, rivers, and regions so renaming four rivers is a high possibility. I can see Noah’s grandchildren using things he told them just to honor him. My God has mysteries that He has not shared, but the world changed after Adam and Eve ate the fruit and Noah’s Flood.

If the land of Canaan (Noah’s grandson by Ham, Genesis 9:18-24) was part of the Garden; Adam would have traveled over where the Jordan was or would be. East is an important direction in Genesis 2 and 3.

Jacob and Family – When Jacob ran from Esau, he was by himself. Genesis 28:10 says he left Beersheba to go to Haran. He stopped at Luz (Bethel) and spent the night. That is the end of his route until he is with the “eastern people” in Haran. I believe from Luz (28:18) he had three routes he may have taken: 1. The road along the seashore, 2. The highway through the mountains that went above Lake Galilee, and 3. to cross the Jordan and go through the Bashan/Gilead. I would have taken the coast road, but in Genesis 32:10 Jacob says he crossed the Jordan with just his staff.

When Jacob ran from Laban, he had four wives, eleven sons, a daughter, and a lot of possessions. After the ordeal of Chapter 31, Jacob’s camp made it to Mahanaim. There he was met by a camp of angels (reminds you of Elisha). Sometime after meeting Esau Jacob’s camp(s) crossed the Jordan and went to Shechem. Jacob had returned to his land which was part of the promise to Abraham from God. It makes me wonder what route Abram took to get to Canaan.

Thoughts on Jacob – 1. He had many experiences with angels. 2. He is older than you might expect. I had to work backward from his death and consider every timestamp that was given during his life. I made mistakes in How Old Were These Guys. I did better in the Patriarch Timeline and the Tribes of Israel Timeline. 3. Angel of the Lord or Metatron means angel of countenance this is a theophany.

Joshua and Israel – The event that gave the name of this post is found in Joshua 3 and 4. God exalted Joshua in the people’s eyes because of this event (3:7). He also dried up the Jordan to show Israel and the world His power (4:24). We tend to focus on the human aspect of this day, but I believe it was much more important to the Father. He was bringing His children home.

This day was an end and the beginning for Joshua and Israel. With years of learning to trust God behind them, they were facing a new test of their faith. They now had to fight for the land promised to Abraham for his family. In the crossing of this Jordan, they left behind the Moabites and Midianites and now had to face the giants and walled cities that had intimidated their forefathers. When we cross the spiritual Jordan, our fighting is done. Metaphors are limited and this is a good example of that.

This is a good time to compare and contrast the passage out of Egypt and the entrance into Canaan. (Please, ignore Exodus through Joshua and look at the rest of the Scriptures.) Passing through the Red Sea has more references than going through the dried-up Jordan River. I found two – Psalms 114:5 and 74:15. (If you know of others, please share.) If you use that as an indicator, leaving Egypt (baptism) is more important than the crossing at the Jordan. I have used the crossing of the Jordan as a shadow of baptism, I will not do that anymore. Israel went through two walls of the sea; the Jordan was dry. Remember, the water was stopped about twenty miles above the crossing site, they were not flanked by walls of water. You could stretch that and say the Dead Sea was on one side and the water at Adam (man or red) was on the other side. (Some bullet points.)

  • Both Crossings had enemies just before going through.
  • The oldest people at the Jordan were Joshua and Caleb. The nineteen-year-olds were now fifty-seven. It seems that the men thirty-eight and younger were not circumcised.
  • Some of the people had seen both crossings.
  • The people took memorial stones from the Jordan. Solomon may have built a memorial on the eastern side of the Red Sea.
  • The Red Sea was after Passover. The Jordan was just before. They crossed on the day they were to choose the lamb for the meal, the tenth day of the first month. (That could be a preaching point.)
  • The direction of travel was different for the two crossings.

This crossing happened at Jericho/Gilgal. Gilgal was the first campsite where they were circumcised and celebrated Passover.

David, His Family, His Officials – David and those fleeing from Absalom left the west bank and traveled east to Mahanaim, 2 Samuel 17:22. (The same city Jacob named. It was also a refuge city.) David returned, east to west, in 2 Samuel 19 and proceeded to Jerusalem. Jesus would follow the same path in Matthew 20 + 21. Both had a mess to clean up when they reached Jerusalem.

This crossing occurred at the fords or shallow spot near Gilgal. Even the king’s return caused an uproar that had to be fixed.

ElishaElijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan near Jericho, going west to east. Elisha, a shadow of Jesus, returned east to west at the same spot. Both of these crossings were done on dry land with the waters dividing for the men. 2 Kings 2

This set of crossings involved the fewest people and the least amount of material goods. Elisha crossed back to the west with a well-used cloak and a double anointing. The entire scene is a shadow of John the Baptist (Elijah) diminishing before Jesus (Elisha) took center stage.

Jesus, His Disciples, His Camp – Jesus’ final pilgrimage to Passover started in Matthew 19:1, Mark 10, Luke 17:11, and John 10:40. (Matthew is my main reference.) He left Galilee crossing the Jordan and went to the area across from Jericho, where he taught and healed the people. If you compile all of the Gospels, it is clear He crossed back and forth several times before going to Jerusalem for Palm Sunday.    

I blame too many movies about Jesus for the idea that just twelve men followed Jesus as He preached about the Kingdom. Mark 15:41 talks about women in Galilee, Luke 24:9 speaks of others that were with the Eleven after the resurrection and Acts 1:21+22 mentions the requirements for taking Judas’ position, so there had to be more than just the Twelve.

This parade started big with His Camp at the Jordan and got larger. The only parade for Jesus that was bigger was the one in Heaven after He disappeared in the clouds when He ascended.

Thoughts – Crossing Jordan is a beautiful metaphor. I admit that my thoughts have changed as I have grown older. But for these crossings, work, warfare, and new experiences waited for those that crossed from east to west over the Jordan.

Hebrews 911

Hebrews 9:11- But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (KJV)

This verse in Hebrews is a great part of the story of what Jesus did in the time period known as Counting the Omer or Passover to Pentecost. Jesus started and ended His earthly ministry with a forty-day period surrounded by heavenly overtones. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for our sins and provided the way for us to fellowship with the Father. These are some things that needed tending to.

  • This is the umbrella statement; He fulfilled the First Covenant and started the Better Covenant.
  • Yearly atonement by the blood of animals was ended.
  • There was a change in the priesthood, Jesus is now the High Priest.
  • Jesus’ death was the paying of the bride’s price for the Church’s marriage to Jesus.
  • Paid debts, possession of keys, a crushed head, a footstool, and authority on earth and over people are legal topics that were addressed and will be finally settled at the Second Coming.
  • I believe Jesus still had instructions He gave to His disciples.

The High Priest – The term Christ is not a name but a title of authority. See Chapter 7 of Hebrews and read about Melchizedek in Psalm 110. Melchizedek means king of righteousness and this Psalm ties King David and Melchizedek with the Messiah/Christ. (See: Was David a Priest?)

Jesus’ priesthood is like the one of Melchizedek. It does not come through the family line of Aaron (the Law) because Jesus was from the family of Judah. Our becoming “king and priest” is because we are found in Jesus and covered by His blood. (I tried for years to link Mary to the tribe of Levi. There is no need for that because He is of the “same kind” of the priesthood as Melchizedek.)

Term vs office – Under the Law, there was always a priest who was anointed to be the leader and go into the Tabernacle and offer blood on the Day of Atonement. The term High Priest really came into the vocabulary of Israel around the Second Temple period, before it was the “anointed priest”. Cohen hagadol (Hebrew) is the term you may want to explore further. Archiereus is the Greek word. Unfortunately, political power, earthly politics, and money also came in with the title. It is a good study to go further into.

Good Things – Your favorite translation, denomination, attitude, and preacher will affect your thoughts on the “good things to come” or agathos ginomai. But 1 Corinthians 15, especially verse 44 and 49 that are talking about a spiritual body sounds good to me.

For the writer of Hebrews Pentecost was real, the Holy Spirit’s gifts were a part of church life, and preaching the Gospel and making disciples was confirmed by miracles, signs, and wonders. Angry Jews and Romain persecution were also part of being a follower of the Way. So, do not put God in a box and believe what Jesus said and died to give us.

Megas kai Teleios Skene or “A greater and more perfect tent.” – More than perfect is hard for my humanity to grasp, but we are talking about God now, so my limits do not count. There are several levels here, so I will start with Moses. Moses made a copy of what he saw in Heaven-9:23 and 24. He inspected this copy in Exodus 39:43, it was “perfect”. So, how could something be more perfect? It is not of this creation it is heavenly. I have heard it preached that Jesus is the earthly Tabernacle and His resurrected body is the “more perfect tent”. I guess it is appropriate to include Solomon’s Temple in this train of thought, the major reason for this is Exodus 40:34 and 1 Kings 8:10 is the same response from God. The area was covered with “the cloud” and the priest could not do their work. His presence would elevate the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s man-made temple to the “perfect level”.

Ktisis – In the King James Bible ktisis became a building. That word in other places is creation. The entire last sentence should make it clear that this “building” is not of this earth. I have a feeling that the thought of our God having more than one “creation” may disturb people. He is the Creator; I have no need to fit a limitless God into my box.

I have had people imply that the tomb with the two angels was the Mercy Seat. It is no doubt a shadow, but that tomb was cut-rock made by human hands. Jesus still had to enter and present the blood offering Himself in Heaven.

Hebrews 9 – This chapter is a beautiful mini-lesson on the Tabernacle, the offerings, and the blood of Jesus. It covers the “shadows” and the fulfillment of Jesus’ sin offering at the altar of Heaven.

As I studied for this Bible 911, a question came up that I did not find a simple answer to. I have looked at Exodus 12, 23, and 34, Numbers 28 and 29, Leviticus 16 and 23, and Ezekiel 45 and 46. These are texts on the feast/sacred assemblies and their respective offerings. Hebrews 9:13 with its “blood of goats and bulls” added to my search. The question is – When did Jesus put His blood on the heavenly Mercy Seat? Was it before Pentecost after His ascension, during His Passover days in the tomb, or did He wait for the seventh month and do it on the Day of Atonement?

The “family” Passover lamb was for protection/deliverance from the death angel and to remember the first one. The later corporate offerings had bulls, goats, and lambs as burnt offerings and sin offerings. (I guess these stopped with the destruction of the Second Temple.) Each major feast day had a corporate offering, these are types and shadows of Jesus. The blood on the Day of Atonement was carried into the Holy of Holies and put on the Mercy Seat. That seems like the best answer, that Jesus waited to make His presentation. I just don’t see anything to back up this waiting period in the New Testament or as a shadow in the First Covenant.  

Leviticus 16 – Leviticus 16 has detailed instructions for the High Priest on the Day of Atonement including the scapegoat. Here is where the phrase about the blood of bulls and goats comes into focus. We can see parts of this feast in what happened with Barabbas and Pilate on the morning of the trial. There is more “What” answered but still not the When. It must be noted that the Anointed Priest did not offer a lamb on this day for sin.  

Round Two – Instead of rewriting the last section I decided to just add this. Several articles were called to my attention about Jesus’ blood, the presentation of His blood, and the Resurrection. They worked with and through Hebrews, especially chapter 9. They did a good job on the why and how but really did not answer when did Jesus present His blood. To be clear, I am not sure we are told or given clues, but the study is fun, and I am interested in the topic. So, on to round two.

  • The cross received Jesus’ blood, just like the doorframe on the first Passover. (I am not sure where they put it during the years of wandering.) But the doorframe is not the altar or the Mercy Seat.
  • The hours in between Jesus’ meeting with Mary and then dining with the disciples in the Upper Room is a possibility. Why? Going with King James’s “do not touch me” that could be “do not hold on to or cling to me” to Jesus inviting the disciple to touch Him might be the answer. He ascended and it was okay. But then why did He need another ascension forty days later (a formal goodbye)? The curtain tearing in the Second Temple at the crucifixion could play into that argument.
  • In the feast-day offerings there were provisions for a sin offering that did not require going into the Mercy Seat. This may back up my thought about waiting for the formal presentation on the Day of Atonement.

It is Finished, The Feast Collide – St. Augustine said, “The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old is fulfilled in the New.” God in His Word uses parables, proverbs, types and shadows, metaphors, and similes to help teach us the truth. The Father does not contradict Himself but will reveal His truth to us in levels for our good. Our computer-assisted artificial intelligent perfectionism does not allow for that kind of teaching, we have lost so much. Please don’t get stuck on one level, God has more. Many of my studies (The Ark, Kingdom, and the Bible 911 series), like the Feast, have collided in this study with Holy Week. I can give you what I have, I am sure there is more.

  • Jesus rode into Jerusalem in a parade like David.
  • Abraham started the idea that God would supply a lamb to save us (a ram shows up). Passover carried that theme as the lamb’s blood covered the family from the death angel. John the Baptist (the only one to say those words, twice) passed the title, Lamb of God, to Jesus. It was finished on the cross during Passover.
  • Jesus and the crowd with Him left Jerusalem every day for Bethany and the Mount of Olives. The Feast of Booths.
  • Greeks came to Jesus in John 12:20. Pentecost
  • From the Day of Atonement come several types and shadows I had never seen before. Jesus and Barabbas are the two scapegoats. Pilate is the man who releases them and he washed his hands. The High Priest had linen garments that had to come off after the sacrifice, Jesus had burial “clothes” left in the tomb. You will need to read Leviticus 16.

I use a devotional prayer book called Praying Grace. It introduced me to the term Tetelestai. This is the word Jesus said that is translated – It is finished. Tetelestai is an accounting term that means the debt is paid now and forever (that is Marky Greek). Because of the “buck stops here” completeness of the term my imagination has fudged a bunch and jumped to a “but God” moment. Envision a God-forwarded version of the Feast cycle completed before Jesus was taken from the cross. Okay, this is still a study!  

To conclude this post but not the study; Jesus died and was freed from the grave for my sins. Given that I serve a God who has a different perspective on time from His earthy creation, I am good not knowing the answer to my question. Hebrews 9 did take place and that is what is important.

Going to Pay the Bride’s Price-Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday has been labeled many things, but paying the bride’s price may be new to you. I have connected this ride with David’s return after running from Absolom, so seeing this as a king riding into his domain is easy to grasp. Zachariah 9: 9-13 is just one of the verses that foretell this ride. I would like to add this as another thing from Hebrew tradition that Jesus was fulfilling. Hebrew wedding traditions are sprinkled throughout the Bible but never listed, see The Ten Virgins post.

The Father picks the bride for His Son and the Bride’s Price is agreed upon. The Groom then goes to the home of His future wife and pays the price. This looked more like a parade than a busy deal and it was a very festive occasion. The Groom then leaves and returns to His Father and waits. The Groom’s Father decides when His Son returns and receives His Bride so the marriage feast may begin. (Does any of this sound familiar?)

While the Son/Groom is waiting to return for His wife He is busy. Future accommodations must be made ready. There are presents to be sent to the future Bride (Pentecost) and she must make herself beautiful and always be ready for the Groom’s return. Cleaning the house was important, like removing the yeast during Passover, Jesus cleaned the Temple and put an end to the unproductive fig tree.

Gold and jewels are mentioned as part of the adornment, sounds like Heaven to me. No one but the Father of the Groom knows when He is going to return to claim His wife. Before the return, a wedding feast must be prepared, and guests have to be invited.

To lend some stories and parables to back my thought up, I will use the Book of Matthew. Chapter 19 has Jesus leaving Galilee and going to the east bank of the Jordan River. There He is questioned about marriage and divorce. This was laying the groundwork for the disciples. Tuesday of Holy Week finds Jesus, first on the Temple Mount being challenged again about marriage and divorce by the leaders of Jerusalem. Chapter 22 is a parable about a wedding feast. As He is leaving to go to the second mount, the Mount of Olives, He prophesies about the Temple and its destruction. While on the Mount of Olives, He gives a second parable about marriage and being ready for the Groom’s return. Tuesday was a busy day for Jesus.

The price Jesus paid for His Bride was His righteous, sinless life and His shed blood. Only those two things would allow Jesus to walk into Hell on Saturday and claim the keys to unlock us from the legal hold of Satan over our lives. The “Second Adam” carried His blood to the heavenly Mercy Seat and sprinkled it to fulfill the demands of the Frist Covenant.

May the grace of Jesus, the love of the Father, and the fellowship of the Spirit be with you as you go into the fields and make disciples and bring glory to God. So, this Palm Sunday, think of the price Jesus paid to include you as the Bride for His marriage feast.

The Cross

This study about the Cross started simply enough, I mean it is a central object in my faith, so of course I knew all about it. Types and shadows and many illustrations from sermons should qualify me as knowledgeable. Well, I was not as good as I thought. I will focus on the wooden implement and not the religious and doctrinal aspects of the cross.

This needs to be said. Jesus was betrayed and condemned by the religious leaders of His day (the Sanhedrin). The political rulers punished Jesus with a beating and allowed Him to be mocked. He was then sentenced to death by hanging on the cross (Rome did this to non-Romains). He had to carry His cross out of the city and be nailed to it and hung on it. He did this for me.

Old Testament Examples

  • Genesis 40:19 – Pharoah was going to kill his servant and hang him on a pole.
  • Joshua 8:29 – The king of Ai was put on a tree and left until the end of the day. He was removed because of Deuteronomy 21:23. A person hung on a tree was under a curse and had to be buried so as not to defile the land.
  • Ezra 6:11 – This is King Darius agreeing with King Cyrus about pulling a beam from the house of anyone that changes the decree to build the Temple of God and have them impaled on it.
  • Esther 5:14 – A hanging tree is a good rendering of gallows. I believe the seventy-five-foot height was more about making a statement than torturing or killing the man.

I have read that these hangings and impaling were for public display of the body after they had been killed and not for the actual killing as the Romains did to Jesus.

A Lot of Words

Atzei, etz, nace, bad, xylon, and stauros are Hebrew and Greek words that deal with wooden things in the Bible.

Genesis 22:6 is the wood (atzei) for the sacrifice being carried by Isaac to Mount Moriah. This word is related to etz, #H6086 in the Strong’s. Etz is a tree or wood and is first used for the trees in the Garden and is the main word for a tree or wood in the Scriptures. The picture of Isaac is a type of Jesus carrying the Cross to the place of sacrifice.

Exodus 15:25 is Hashem showing Moses a “piece of etz” to throw into a pool to make it drinkable. Yes, there are many legends about that etz, none of which can be confirmed in Scripture. I will agree it is a picture of Jesus. I have heard good sermons describing it as a type of the Cross, so I will leave this one up to you. Be a Berean and study this one out.

Exodus 25:14 is part of the instructions for building the Ark and the Tabernacle. The two poles that were part of the Ark and used to carry it are called staves (KJV) or poles. The word here is bad #H905 and it refers to a “branch of a tree”. Since they are part of the Ark, I do not think they represent the Cross, but the Holy Spirit.   

Numbers 21:9 definitely is a picture of Jesus on the Cross. This is the story of the brass serpent on a pole. The word nace #H5251 is frequently used for a military standard or banner, or a flag or sail. The idea of a standard really would be a picture of a crosspiece on the Cross.

In the New Testament, the word for cross is stauros. (Please see the websites listed below.) From historical sources, it is described as a pole with no crosspiece of any kind. Wow, that would mess up a lot of great sermons.

Yes, I started looking for early Christian art that depicted the Passion. There really is not that much early art that shows a cross (1st to 3rd century). The Restless Pilgrim post is graffiti that is mocking someone that worshipped Jesus, but it does show a human figure on a cross with a crosspiece and a footrest. The other picture was a royal seal of Emperor Constantine. He had a traditional Christian cross on it (It was in a movie about Rome) and it was made in the late 300’s before his death. I have also heard that when the early Christians “lifted holy hands” they were making themselves into the shape of the Cross.

Paul in Galatians

Galatians 3:13 restates Deuteronomy 21:23 which says if you are hung on a tree/pole (xylon) you are cursed. But in 6:14 he will only boast in the cross (stauros) of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like the Tree in the Garden, it carried a good and a bad message.

My thoughts-I believe the Romains took torture to a whole new level with their use of the cross. So, it does not really matter if Jesus’ hands were straight up or splayed out on a crosspiece, they made sure it was horrible. (I do think there was a crosspiece.)

Could a Greek word (stauros) have been “recycled” for a Romain device? Americans do it all the time. That would have allowed for the upright to stay in the ground and the condemned just to carry the crosspiece.

That Romain cross, like a tree, was planted in the ground and held Jesus between Heaven and Earth. He was nailed to that wood, and it became my Tree of Life. The Cross held the most important piece of fruit to ever hang from a tree; make sure you are found in Him.

What’s the earliest depiction of the crucifixion? – Restless Pilgrim

Stauros – Wikipedia

σταυρός |