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The Cross and Resurrection of Christ

By Dr Brian J. Bailey

The Cross in the Old Testament 

In the Old Testament, the cross was a curse. We read in Deuteronomy 21:22-23, “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; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” 

This refers to criminals who had already been put to death. If the executed person had committed a heinous crime, his body was suspended from a tree as a sign of shame. However, by law, the body had to be removed from the tree before nightfall. The Jews never executed people by crucifixion. 

Death by crucifixion was a curse. This statement is supported by Galatians 3:13: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Here the Apostle Paul is quoting Deuteronomy 21:22 almost verbatim. God the Father had determined that His dear Son would carry the curse of the law, being accursed by His death upon the cross. 

Another aspect of the cross was the intense shame that came with that method of execution. Paul says in Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hanging upon a cross is shameful, but Jesus endured it so that we might have eternal life.

Basically, the curse is the judgement of God upon the person who hangs upon the cross. By His death upon the cross, Jesus was, in effect, rejected by God and subject to His punishments. This was evident when Jesus cried out upon the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mt. 27:46). Jesus endured terrible sufferings upon the cross in His spirit, soul, and body. These sufferings were the result of God the Father’s punishment upon sin. When Jesus drank the contents of that cup in the Garden of Gethsemane, He who knew no sin became sin for mankind. 

The shame that He endured came from men as they despised the One upon the cross, mocking and shooting out their lips in derision. We read in Psalm 22:7-8, “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ‘He trusted on the Lord  that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.’” 

We are exhorted by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 13:13, “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore” (NIV). Nevertheless, few Christians are willing to be associated with the reproach and shame of the Cross of Christ, preferring the garment of religious respectability. However, as Christians, we are all called to bear our cross in whatsoever form it takes.  

In Genesis, the Book of Beginnings, virtually all the great purposes of God for His creation are revealed in types. As we read in Genesis 1:26, “...God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’” Man, therefore, is made like God. We have a similar character to God’s, and our physical beings reflect the image of God. If you have seen the Lord, you know that we look like Him. Therefore, we are made like the Father and the Son, and we are very precious in His sight. 


The Sufferings of Christ Portrayed in the Prophecies of Isaiah 

Isaiah speaks of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son in the realm of Christ’s sacrifice. Isaiah 6:8 says, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send and who will go for us?’” God the Father desired to save the world. Paul assured Timothy that God does not desire anyone to be lost and go to  hell (1 Tim. 2:4). 

The whole of heaven agreed with Him, saying: “Who will go for us?” Who will save mankind? Isaiah replied, “Here am I; send me,” but actually these were the words of Jesus Christ to His Father before He left heaven. 

Those who have had visions of that scene in heaven say that there was an awesome silence when the Father asked, “Whom shall I send?” Everyone there was willing to go, but no one could go because only God could save mankind. God the Father said, “Whom shall I send?” This is a revelation of the sovereignty of God. Everything must start with God the Father. 

Those who have witnessed this in visions tell us that the Son, who stood at the Father’s right hand, said “Here am I; send me.” Then God said, “Go.” John 3:16 declares, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...” Before creating this world, God knew that He would eventually have to sacrifice His Son for the salvation of mankind. What a tremendous price He paid for our salvation! 

We need to understand the price that God paid for our salvation by sending His Son to the cross. Isaiah chapter 53 explains something of what was going to happen to Jesus Christ on the cross. Isaiah had a revelation of the crucifixion, and it was formidable. We read in Isaiah 53:3-4, “He is despised and rejected of man; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely, he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” That is exactly what happened. 

Jesus Christ was smitten for us by God the Father before the foundation of the world. A clear understanding of this is essential in order to understand the truth of the cross. God knew the price that He would have to pay for the redemption of man; He knew that the price was His one and only Son. In order for God to redeem mankind, He had to smite His own Son. It was God who smote Jesus, not the Roman Empire or the Jews. They were but instruments used by God the Father. 

Further confirmation of this is found in Isaiah 53:10: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; he hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.” God the Father orchestrated everything. The cross came from the heart of the Father. The cross was the wisdom and love of the Father. It was God’s way of saving and redeeming mankind. What I marvel at is that God created this world, knowing that He would have to send His Son to die on the cross for the salvation of mankind. Oh, what love God has shown to the world by sacrificing His Son Jesus for our sins! 


The Suffering of Christ Portrayed in the Lives of the Prophets 

The prophets in the Old Testament prophesied, or portrayed by their lives, concerning the sufferings of Christ upon the cross. 

Isaiah, who had a tremendous revelation of Jesus’ birth and sufferings upon the cross, was martyred by King Manasseh of Judah. Jesus was martyred by the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. 

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, was imprisoned. Jesus, who wept over Jerusalem (Lk. 19:41), was also imprisoned by the Roman soldiers, being tormented and mocked as well. 

Ezekiel, who was called over seventy times “the son of man,” was rejected by his people. Jesus, whose favourite title for Himself was “the Son of Man,” was likewise rejected by His people, Israel. 

Daniel, the righteous one, was falsely accused by the leaders of the nation. Jesus, our Jehovah-Tsidkenu (The Lord our Righteousness), was falsely accused by the leaders of the nation of Israel. 

Hosea was married to a wife who was unfaithful. This typified Israel’s unfaithfulness to their Messiah and Heavenly Bridegroom. Jesus knows the sorrow of His bride, His people, being unfaithful to Him. 

Joel lived in a time of spiritual barrenness comparable to the condition of Israel at the time when Jesus ministered. In Isaiah 53:2, Jesus is called “the root out of a dry ground.” 

Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, an experience which served as a sign of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Mt. 12:40). 

Zechariah, the post-exilic prophet, had a revelation of the wounds in Jesus’ hands, as we read in Zechariah 13:6, “And one shall say unto him, ‘What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’” 

Thus, we see that the Lord has fulfilled prophecies that related to His sufferings, as portrayed in this selection from the Old Testament prophets. 

Material is taken from the book, The Cross and Resurrection of Christ. Re-printed with exclusive permission from the late Dr. Brian J. Bailey. Scriptures quoted in this article are in the King James Version. 

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