Friday, January 29, 2016

The Structure of Judges, the 7th Book of the Bible

"Zayin" is the 7th Hebrew letter and means weapon or sword. In Modern Hebrew it means to be armed and that is the primary theme of the 7th book, Judges.
Judges, (Shof’tim in the Hebrew) takes its name from the 13 men raised up to deliver Israel in the falling away and division following the death of Joshua. It was probably written by Samuel. Judges, the 7th book, records 7 apostasies, 7 servitudes to 7 heathen nations and 7 deliverances. Key verses are 2:16-19, 17:6 and 21:25 and I’ve bolded some important parts:
 16 Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the LORD’s commands. 18 Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
 25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
That’s right, chapters 17 and 21 reiterate the same thing. I think this helps us a lot to understand why the Bible has so much of what those who criticize the Bible call senseless violence and bloodshed. After the death of

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Structure of Joshua, the 6th Book of the Bible

Joshua, the 6th book, acts as the 6th Hebrew letter "vav" does in that it links the first 5 books of Moses, which lead Israel up to Canaan, with the 12 succeeding books, which cover Israel’s history inside Canaan.
Joshua’s name means salvation. In Hebrew it is Y’hoshua, the 1st of the 12 books of OT history.
Joshua records the consummation of the redemption of Israel out of Egypt. The book is divided into 4 parts: the conquest, the partition of the inheritance, developing discord, and Joshua’s last counsels and his death.
Joshua records the passage of Israel from the wilderness where they wandered forty years to the Promised Land. There is powerful symbolism here. Moses the Lawgiver died, and Joshua, whose name is the equivalent of Jesus, led them through the “baptism” in the Jordan into the Promised Land. Does it sound like the gospel? Joshua was a helper to Moses. He led the army against the Amalekites. He went with Moses up Sinai mountain when God gave instructions about the ark. He was one of 12 who Moses sent in secret to look at the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb brought good news back. Joshua had faith that God would provide.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Structure of Deuteronomy (the Fifth Book of the Bible)

Deuteronomy means “a recapitulation of the law” or in Latin second (deutero) law (nomos).  In Hebrew this book is called d’varim which means “words” or “things”. It was written by Moses.
Deuteronomy holds the parting counsels of Moses just before they enter the Promised Land. There is a summary of the wilderness wanderings and a repeating of the Law (10 commandments, etc.). Warnings, instructions and prophecies follow and then we have Moses’s parting blessings and then his death.
Look at Deuteronomy 5: 7 – 21:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

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Friday, January 8, 2016

The Structure of Numbers (the fourth book of the Bible)

So far we’ve had Genesis, the book of the creation and fall, Exodus, the book of redemption, and Leviticus, the book of worship and fellowship. Now we get to Numbers, the book of service and walk.
Numbers records the population numbers of the Hebrews thus the title seems obvious. In Hebrew it is called B’midbar because the first words are “In the wilderness” (b’midbar), appropriate because it contains the 40 years of wandering. This book was written by Moses. Its major themes are that every servant (person) was numbered, knew his place in the family, and had his own definitely assigned service. Read Numbers 1:1-3 (bold added):
1The LORD spoke to Moses in the Tent of Meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: 2 "Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. 3 You and Aaron are to number by their divisions all the men in Israel twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army.
The book of Numbers can be divided into sections. The first 10 chapters show the preparation for the journey into the Promised Land. Read chapter 2 below (or at least scan the bold print I added):

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Structure of Leviticus (3rd book of the Old Testament)

Leviticus (Va’yikra in Hebrew) means “and He called,” which is how verse one starts. We call this book Leviticus because it records the duties of the Levites. The Hebrew title is representative of the content and purpose of the book, namely the calling of God’s people, and in particular the calling of the Levites, to minister before Him.
This book was written by Moses and its major themes are like an instruction manual for morals and ethics. There are civil, sanitary, ceremonial, moral and religious regulations for the nation of Israel. There are also instructions for making offerings (burnt, meat, peace, sin, trespass, grain). We have the ordination of Aaron and his son, rules and laws for purification, regulations for atonement, rules for sexual relationships, provisions for festivals, and final instructions and warnings.
All the offerings, as well as the ceremonies and laws, served to constantly remind Israel that God is eminently holy. God could be approached only by the priests, and then only in strict obedience to the detailed instructions for purification.  God required the sacrifice of innocent animals for the covering of man’s sin. These sacrifices were symbolic of the ultimate sacrifice (Jesus) which would take away the sin of the whole world.
What’s really interesting is that in Leviticus you’ll find some “divine warnings.”