Definition of the Cross of Christ
Frequency of Occurrences
In the Gospels & Acts:
Occurrences of the Word “Cross” in the Old Testament: The word “cross” does not actually occur in the Old Testament. However, there are three occurrences of the word “tree” which are used in a context referring to execution by crucifixion. In Deuteronomy 21:22-23, the Israelites were given a command as part of their law that said, “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day.” During Israel’s conquests, the book of Joshua also indicates that the king of Ai was hanged on a tree when it says in Joshua 8:29 that, “the king of AI he hanged on a tree until eventide.”
Foreshadowing of the Cross of Christ through the Exodus: Since the seminal event of the Old Testament is the Exodus, and the seminal event of the New Testament is the crucifixion, it should come as no surprise to find significant foreshadowing of the crucifixion in the Old Testament’s depiction of the Exodus. A few significant parallels are noted:
The Cross of Christ is Central to the Theology of the New Testament.
The Cross of Christ is the Identity Under which New Testament Believers Live.
 It can become tempting to believe that physical references to an object preclude any sort of significance regarding theological ramifications. This is decidedly not the case with the cross of Christ. The crucifixion, as the seminal moment in the New Testament, carries with it tremendous ramifications. That being the case, every detail of the Gospel narratives, and every mention of the physical cross of Christ is of vital theological import to the New Testament text.
 Often, these allusions have been misconstrued to contain references to every-day trials. The popular saying “this is the cross that I must bear” can be used to refer to anything from a common head-cold, to a hectic work schedule. This interpretation is decidedly not the point of Christ’s challenge, and is a sad ignoral of authorial intent.
 Because the seminal moment of New Testament history is the crucifixion, many other words are used to refer to that momentous occasion, and to allude to the redemption that it provided. Such words include “blood,” “sacrifice,” “death,” and others. Time will not allow us to explore all of the words used to describe the redemption, so the focus here will stay on the implications of the cross of Christ.
 Like Acts, the reference here is to a “tree.”
 Again, the reference is to a “tree.”
 This verse also poignantly adds a foreshadowing of the severity of the sacrifice made by Christ during his death on the cross when it says, “he that is hanged is accursed of God.” Christ’s sinlessness and his death in an accursed manner made Him an acceptable sacrifice for our sins.
 In accordance with the law previously discussed, the verse goes on to say that “as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones.”
 This list of parallels is by no means meant to be exhaustive. An exhaustive list detailing the parallels between the cross and the exodus could continue ad infinitum. Since this paper focuses specifically on New Testament theology, I have included only four.
 I am aware of the danger of an allegorical or sensational hermeneutic applied to an Old Testament text that may seem to be present in this instance. That is not my intention here. However, it is my belief after consultation with multiple sources that such an interpretation can be justly applied to this text in Exodus 12, and defended equally as well.
 Again, time will not allow this list to be exhaustive. The centrality of the cross of Christ, or the events surrounding the cross of Christ could be documented throughout just about every page in the New Testament. The list included is merely a representation of that centrality.
WRITTEN BY CHAD PHELPS