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published: 9/4/04
updated: 12/26/13

Jehovah's Witnesses Symbols

Rejection of the Cross

Although Jehovah's Witnesses identify themselves as Christians, they reject the symbol most commonly associated with Christianity - the cross. Crosses are not displayed in the interior or exterior of Kingdom Halls and Jehovah's Witnesses do not wear cross necklaces or print crosses on their Bibles.

Jehovah's Witnesses reject the cross symbol because they regard it as a pre-Christian pagan fertility symbol. They also deny that Jesus actually died on a cross. Instead, the New World Translation has him suffering and dying on an upright "torture stake." The Watchtower website teaches:

Jesus did not die on a cross. He died on a pole, or a stake. The Greek word translated "cross" in many Bibles meant just one piece of timber. The symbol of the cross comes from ancient false religions. The cross was not used or worshiped by the early Christians. Therefore, do you think it would be right to use a cross in worship? (Deuteronomy 7:26; 1 Corinthians 10:14) {1}

Thus, Acts 2:23 in non-Witness Bibles reads, "... by nailing him to the cross," the New World Translation reads, "... fastened to a stake." Similarly, Mark 8:34 in the New International Version says, "If anyone would come after me, he must ... take up his cross and follow me." The New World Translation has, "... pick up his torture stake and follow me continually."

The Watchtower

The one symbol that is used to represent the Jehovah's Witnesses is the watchtower. It can be seen on the outside of some Kingdom Halls, inscribed on some publications, and at the top of the Watchtower website.

The idea of the watchtower has been associated with the Jehovah's Witnesses since almost the very beginning, when Charles Taze Russell called the new society "Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society." The Society does not emphasize the meaning of the watchtower, but it is clearly an appropriate symbol for a group watching for the signs of the end.


  1. "Beliefs and Customs That Displease God." Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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