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What is the message of the Pentateuch?


What is the Pentateuch and what can we learn from it?

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The word is from the Greek ‘penta’ (five) and ‘teuchos’ (tool, vessel, scroll, case, book,) and is applied to the first five books of the Old Testament; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, indicating that these books are to be taken as a whole. In Hebrew the books are named by the first significant word of the section: Bereshit (Genesis), Shemot (Exodus), Wayiḳra (Leviticus), Bemidbar (Numbers), and Debarim (Deuteronomy). In the Septuagint (The Greek translation of the Old Testament), they are known by names roughly indicating their contents as dealing with "the beginnings of things," the "exodus" from captivity, the "Levitical" laws, the "numbers" of the Israelites, and the "repetition of the Law." These names from the Greek are used in the English translations.

GENESIS

The opening words of the Bible teach that God is the Creator of the universe, which He made with a plan and a purpose.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

The name "Genesis" means 'birth' or 'beginning'. In this book we learn about very important beginnings in God's plan for the Earth.

1. The beginning of life on earth (Genesis 1-2)
2. The origin of sin and death and the promise of a Saviour (Genesis 3)
3. The Flood: a new beginning with Noah's family, saved in the ark (Genesis 6-10)
4. Babel: the origin of languages and races of mankind (Genesis 11)
5. The beginnings of the nation of Israel (Genesis 12-32)

God called Abraham and his family to leave Ur, in Mesopotamia, to migrate to "a land that I will show thee" (Genesis 12:1) — Canaan, the future land of promise. Lot, his nephew, settled near Sodom and Gomorrah, and had to be rescued when those evil cities were destroyed.

God's Promises through Abraham:

1. A "seed" (Jesus Christ)—Isaac was a child of promise in the short term, but the "seed" promised to Abraham (Genesis 22:17; Galatians 3:16) was Christ.
2. A nation—God's people, in the first place Israel (Genesis 17:7-8), but extended to those who are "in Christ" (Galatians 3:29).
3. Inheritance of the promised land of Israel by the faithful;
4. Blessings for all nations—"In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:3).

Abraham's faith was tested when God asked him to slay Isaac. He had the knife poised but his hand was stayed, and "in a figure" Abraham received his son back from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19).

The promises to Abraham form the basis of the New Testament gospel.

Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham‘s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The promises were repeated to Isaac (Genesis 26:3) and Jacob (Genesis 28:13), whose name was changed to Israel. Jacob had twelve sons, heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob's sons sell Joseph into Egypt as a slave, but he is promoted to be Pharaoh's prime minister. Jacob and his family join Joseph in Egypt, but Jacob (Genesis 47:30) and Joseph (Genesis 50:24,25) both ask to be buried in the promised land of Israel.

Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible:
Compare: Genesis 2:7 with 1 Corinthians 15:45; Genesis 2.24 with Matthew 19:4,5; Genesis 13:1 with Galatians 3:16-29; Genesis 15:7 with Acts 7:5.

EXODUS

The record of how the Israelites were saved out of Egypt, led through the Sinai Desert for 40 years and brought to the borders of Canaan.

The Name "Exodus" means 'a going out'. The first part of the Book of Exodus contains the record of how God made a way out for His people Israel. He chose Moses to be their leader. Then, after ten great plagues against Egypt and its gods, and other miracles such as the drying up of the Red Sea to let them cross, He took them out of the slavery of Egypt, to go to the Promised Land. The rest of the Book of Exodus records their journeying in the Sinai desert.

Among the miraculous events recorded in Exodus are:
1. The Burning Bush— Exodus 3
2. The 10 Plagues— Exodus 7-12
3. The Passover— Exodus 12-13
4. Crossing the Red Sea— Exodus 13-15
5. Bread from Heaven— Exodus 16
6. Water from the Rock— Exodus 17
7. Israel at Mount Sinai— Exodus 19
8. The giving of the Law (including the 10 commandments) — Exodus 20-31
9. Incident of the Golden Calf— Exodus 32
10. Making of the Tabernacle, where God's glory came to dwell— Exodus 25-40

Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible
Compare: Exodus 19:6 with 1 Peter 2:9; Exodus 28:29 with Hebrews 2:17; Exodus 34:33-35 with 2 Corinthians 3:7-14.

LEVITICUS

God's laws given to Israel at Sinai relating to the priesthood of the descendants of Levi the third son of Jacob: details of the sacrifices and the personal and collective life of holiness required of Israel.

Priesthood
Aaron (of the tribe of Levi) was Israel's first High Priest. His sons and descendants continued the priesthood over the next 8 centuries. Though the Levitical priesthood failed through disobedience, God would later provide a "better priesthood": Jesus Christ (of the tribe of Judah) is the only priest today, a mediator between God and men (1Timothy 2:5).

Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Christ was foreshadowed in the Offerings. The Law was intended to bring us to Christ.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled all that was intended in the various offerings. His total dedication and sinlessness made him the perfect offering for those who look in faith to God for atonement (see Hebrews 10).

OFFERINGS UNDER THE LAW
BURNT— Leviticus1: Meaning — Giving self wholly to God
MEAL— Leviticus 2: Meaning— Thanks to God
PEACE— Leviticus 3: Meaning— Peace with God
SIN—Leviticus 4: Meaning — Sinful nature
TRESPASS— Leviticus 5:Meaning— Personal sins
ATONEMENT— Leviticus 16: Meaning — National cleansing

Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible
Compare: Leviticus 10:3 with Isaiah 52:11 and 1 Peter 1:15,16; Leviticus 17:11 with Hebrews 9:22; Leviticus 23:39,40 with Hosea 12:9 and Zechariah 14:16.

NUMBERS

Incidents in the wilderness, following Israel's faithless failure, which prevented their entry into the Promised Land.

The Book of Numbers is so called because it records two censuses or 'numberings' of the Israelites:
1. At Sinai— Numbers 1:1-3
2. Near to Canaan— Numbers 26

The 12 spies sent to reconnoitre in the Promised Land (Numbers 13) reported that the Canaanite cities were highly fortified and their armies powerful. Presented with this news, Israel lost faith in God's promise to give them the Land. So for another 38 years they had to wander in the deserts. Their journeyings, especially during the final years, are related in Numbers 21-36. All the generation which left Egypt (from 20 years old and upwards) died in the desert, except the Levites, and Joshua and Caleb, the only two spies who showed faith in God.

Numbers (ch.1) according to Tribe (Men over 20 and excluding Levi) — Reuben 46,500; Ephraim40,500; Simeon 59,300; Manasseh 32,200; Gad 45,650; Benjamin 35,400; Judah 74,600; Dan 62,700; Issachar 54,400; Asher 41,500; Zebulun 57,400; Naphtali 53,400. Total: 603,550.

Chapter Summary
1st CensusChapter 1Spies' reportChapter 13
The CampChapter 2Korah's revoltChapter 16
LevitesChapter 4Water from the rockChapter 20
NazaritesChapter 6Fiery SerpentsChapter 21
PrincesChapter 8Balaam's propheciesChapter 22-24
Order of marchingChapter 102nd CensusChapter 26
TaberahChapter 11Various laws and feastsChapter 28-30
Miriam's revoltChapter 12List of journeysChapter 33-34

Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible:
Compare: Numbers 14:21with Isaiah 11:9 and Habakkuk 2:14; Numbers 21:8-9 with John 3:14-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:21; Numbers 24:17 with Genesis 49:10 and Psalm 110.2.

DEUTERONOMY

In Deuteronomy (which means 'repeating the Law') a new generation of Israelites, journeying in the wilderness, had God's laws repeated to them as they neared the borders of the Promised Land. 40 years had passed since God brought Israel out from Egypt by a series of great miracles. He had since wonderfully provided for them during their wanderings in the Sinai Peninsula. God through Moses reminds the new generation of His acts as they now stood near the borders of the Promised Land. God pleads with them to be more faithful than their fathers had been.

Remember the Days of Old
Deuteronomy 1-10 contain a review of what God had already done for His people, from Egypt onwards. They were exhorted to learn from the lessons of the past. We too should learn that these things are written for our eternal benefit (Romans 15:4).

In the Mind
In later years, Jews sometimes wore little boxes containing Scripture texts on parchment, called 'phylacteries', which they fastened on their foreheads or arms. What really matters, is to have the Word of God in our minds (see Deuteronomy 6:6; Matthew 23:5; Hebrews 8:10).

Remember God's Word
There is an emphasis in Deuteronomy on the need to remember (see 4:9; 6:12; 8:2,11,18; 9:7; 11:18; 32:7). Jesus remembered God's Word; it was deeply impressed on his mind. Thus he was strengthened against the temptations which arose from within. When, in the wilderness, three such temptations came (Matthew 4:1-10) all three were rebutted with quotations remembered from Deuteronomy (8:3; 6:16; 10:20). In the same way God's Word in our minds can help us overcome temptation.

Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible:
Compare: Deuteronomy 4:2 withProverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18,19; Deuteronomy 6:4 with 1 Corinthians 8:6 and 1 Timothy 2:5; Deuteronomy 18:18 with Acts 3:22.23; 7:37.

The Pentateuch is supported by Christ:

Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

I hope you have found this helpful.

May God bless you,

Glenn.
www.thisisyourbible.com

 
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