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Old Testament: Part 1

The Torah

Overview of the Old Testament

The Hebrew canon, or Old Testament, refers to the collection of Hebrew (and some Aramaic) books that were recognized as Scripture in ancient Israel. The traditional order we're talking about is referred to as “TaNaK.” The TaNaK is an acronym for the names of the three large subcollections of the Hebrew Bible: Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim. See how the whole order of the Old testament is actually much different than you may think, and is the same order Jesus would have read them in.

Genesis: Part 1

Chapters 1-11

Translated as 'origin' from the Greek word, the Book of Genesis tells us how everything began from humanity's history to the world we know today. One could call this the 'problem statement' for humanity, one the rest of the Bible will be answering. It reveals a dramatic prologue of God's love for us, the tragedies of sin and the human race, and God initiating a brilliant plan to win us back from the clutches of darkness. He does this by passing down a covenant blessing through Abraham and his family, including Isaac, Jacob, and other individuals, in order to bless all the families of the earth. These descendants will become the foundation for the Nation of Israel and Jesus the Messiah who will bring salvation for all of humanity.

Genesis: Part 2

Chapters 12-50

God makes a promise that He will bless all nations through Abraham's family. But with aging husbands, impatient matriarchs, blessing-stealing children, and jealous siblings who keep mucking things up, how will God's promise prevail?

Exodus: Part 1

Chapters 1-18

Filled with memorable miracles, Chapters 1-18 in the Book of Exodus hold much more purpose than simple entertainment. They contain historical accounts with tangible truths that still apply to the present. The story begins in Egypt where Genesis leaves off but reveals a much darker picture: Abraham's descendants have indeed grown as numerous as the stars, but are now oppressed in slavery by a Pharaoh who has forgotten the kindness his predecessor showed to Joseph's family. Hearing their prayers, God confronts Pharaoh's stubbornness and delivers the Israelites from bondage. He sends Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh as agents that usher in a multitude of signs and wonders, and display God's glory in a land of idols. God also establishes the first Passover, a turnkey event for the founding of Israel and Christ's sacrifice. Themes of redemption, rebellion and The Blessing continue to play out for individuals and nations in this section.

Exodus: Part 2

Chapters 19-40

The Israelites come to Mt. Sinai, where God invites them into a covenant relationship. He wants to make them his representatives to all the nations and come to personally live in their midst. But Israel rebels by making an idol of the golden calf, which is just a really bad idea.

Leviticus

God invites Israel to live in close proximity to His holy presence. Which seems awesome, but it’s actually dangerous. This book explores how the sacrificial rituals and purity practices cleared the way for morally corrupt Israelites to become God’s covenant partners. In order to heal the damage from Israel's rebellion against His instructions, God established a way for people's sins to be covered through a system of sacrifices in the laws of the covenant. These laws described in the Book of Leviticus serve a three-fold purpose: forgive acts of sin and spare people's lives, show the world that Israel was God's holy ambassador to the earth, and define standards of right and wrong that will fortify immense value to Christ's sacrifice for humanity. Since God's nature is absolutely good, no evil can ever be present near him - including humans tainted with the sin of Adam's fall. Unfortunately, some individuals learn this the hard way as the Israelites adjust themselves to correctly performing these laws. Still, God blesses them in His continual mercy as Abraham's descendants of The Blessing.

Numbers

A road-trip gone bad. Israel leaves Mt. Sinai only to rebel against God at every step. God responds with short-term severity and long-term generosity as He leads them into the promised land.After centuries of living in foreign lands, the time comes for the Israelites to return to the land God had promised to Abraham. But soon after they set out for Canaan, Israel perpetually complains, sins, and even incites rebellion against Moses and Aaron in God's presence. Eleven days of travel in the wilderness become 40 years as a result of their unbelief, and only their children can enter the Promised Land. Tired and frustrated, Moses strikes a rock to resolve yet another complaint from the Israelites, but sadly disobeys God's instruction to speak to it. He too is prevented from entering the Promised Land. Even in all this, God still displays His amazing faithfulness and patience. A few individuals, such as Joshua and Caleb, remain faithful and will lead Israel's next generation. Many scriptures use Israel's wilderness stories in the Book of Numbers as examples for us to believe God and trust Him with our lives.

Deuteronomy

Moses delivers his final words of warning and wisdom to the Israelites before they enter the promised land. This is the epic conclusion of the Torah! And, spoiler alert: Moses dies.After 40 years of rebellion and frustration in the wilderness, the next generation of Israel is finally old enough in the Book of Deuteronomy to inherit the land of Canaan that God promised them. Wise and full of years, Moses knows that this generation will disobey like their parents did, but he is hopeful that they will repent and God will continue to guide them. He reviews with them everything that happened in the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers from Egypt to Mt. Sinai to the wilderness, as well as the laws of the covenant. He urges them to love God and be faithful, and He will bless them in return. Joshua is appointed as the next leader, and Moses dies. Even though he can't enter it, God allows him to see a marvelous view of the Promised Land from a mountaintop during his final hours, demonstrating His love for His people.