The cross, a central symbol of Christianity, is often thought to be purely a New Testament revelation. However, the Old Testament, though written centuries before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, contains numerous references and foreshadowings of the cross. Through various passages, the Old Testament sets the stage for the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, which is later unveiled in the New Testament.

Psalm 22: The Suffering Servant

Psalm 22 is a poignant expression of distress and a vivid prophetic portrait of the crucifixion of Christ. The psalmist, David, experiences deep anguish that mirrors the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Verses 16 to 18 say, “Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” These lines uncannily describe the events of Jesus’ crucifixion, from the piercing of His hands and feet to the casting of lots for His clothing, as detailed in the Gospel accounts.

Isaiah 53: The Wounded Messiah

Isaiah 53 is arguably one of the most direct and profound Old Testament references to the crucifixion. This chapter speaks of a suffering servant, an individual who bears pain and affliction for the sake of others. Verses 5-7 depict a figure who “was pierced for our transgressions” and “by his wounds we are healed.” Christians believe these verses prophesy the coming of Jesus and His sacrificial death on the cross, offering forgiveness and healing for humanity’s sins.

Revelation 1:7: The Pierced One Returns

While Revelation is a New Testament book, its roots dig deep into Old Testament prophecy. Revelation 1:7 declares, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all peoples on earth will mourn because of him.” This verse connects to the prophecy of Zechariah 12:10, where God speaks of a future moment when the people will look on the one they have pierced and mourn. The crucifixion and subsequent return of Christ are foreshadowed here, suggesting that the impact of the cross transcends time, reaching back into the Old Testament and forward to the end of days.

The Cross as the Fulfillment of Prophecy

These Old Testament references to the cross are not isolated curiosities but integral parts of a divine tapestry. They show that the crucifixion of Jesus was not an afterthought or a plan B but was foreordained and prophesied as part of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. The cross casts its shadow back into the Old Testament, providing a consistent narrative of salvation history.


The cross is a thread woven throughout the entire Bible, from the prophecies of the Old Testament to their fulfillment in the New. These references reveal a consistent and deliberate message of hope and redemption. They attest to the Bible’s unity and the singular purpose of God’s plan: to bring salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The cross, therefore, is not only a New Testament symbol but a timeless emblem of divine love and mercy that resonates through all of Scripture.