“They Shall Crucify Him”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet

Jacob was not the first to announce the death of the Son of God by crucifixion. Enoch had seen “the Son of Man lifted up on the cross” (Moses 7:55), as had Zenock, whose words were had by the Nephites (1 Nephi 19:10).

Such knowledge could only be had by revelation. The fulfillment of the prophecy required not only that the Jews reject and kill their Messiah but also that he die by crucifixion.

The prophecy was the more remarkable because crucifixion was unknown to Hebrew law. The Mosaic code prescribed the penalty of death in four forms: stoning, burning, beheading, and strangling (The Mishnah, trans. Herbert Danby [Oxford University Press: 1974], p. 39).

Thus the strange alliance in the death of Christ between the leaders of the Jews who condemned him to death and the Romans who carried out their sentence. Although crucifixion was one of the most excruciating and cruel forms of death ever devised, it was not original with the Roman empire, though the Romans certainly perfected its horrors.

To the Jews it was a most ignominious form of death, making of Christ a figure of disrepute, “for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:22-23).

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1