The Pentateuch

The Bible – the Pentatauch – power point slides PDF.

Genesis

Core Ideas.
God is the creator of our universe and everything in it including mankind who was made in his image.
Man disobeyed God causes tragic consequences in creation.
God seeks a person through whom his offspring shall fulfill God’s plan of redemption.

Book Time Span.
This book covers from the creation to the death of Joseph in Egypt around 1600 B. C.

Emphasis.
God is the creator of all.
Humans are made in his likeness.
The nature and consequences for humanity and creation because of sin.
The start of divine covenants. God’s choice of people through whom he will bless all nations.

Important Scripture
Genesis 3:15
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring;
He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Major Points of Interest.
The Narrative of Genesis is broken into two separate parts. First, is the prehistory From Gen. 1 -11. This tells us of the origins, the fall, freewill, the relentless progress of evil all while seeing God’s patience and pursuit toward a humanity who has rejected him. This is seen in our scripture above. While God judged the action of the fall, he gave humanity the promise of redemption in this verse. The “seed” of a woman’s offspring shall overcome the evil of the servant. God’s promise here will play out through the rest of the Bible.

Notice that this starts out as a family affair and throughout the rest of the book it becomes a family affair. We will see from the first humans of Adam and Eve, through the family of Noah, the family of Abraham and his sons Isaac, and Jacob Goodwill will create a covenants relationship with them to bring about his redemptive plan in the future. It is through these families we have great promises and we can look back to see if these sign posts are being fulfilled.

In contrast, there are other family lines to whom God rejected. The guide chooses Abel over Cain, Isaac over Ishmael, and Jacob over Esau. This is to give a contrast between the chosen “seed” and the “rejected brother”. For example, one genealogy comes from the child of promise and the other a child of the flesh.

A major plot point throughout is the God’s constant intervention in human history by choosing or electing a man and his family. This specifically applies to Abraham. Abraham will play a primary role in God’s narrative throughout the Bible.

There are also several subplots that also need to be mentioned in the book of Genesis as well. First, there are two crucial covenants between God and his people. The first one is with Noah. As mans sinful nature erodes evil spreads throughout the land. This Therefore, God decides to judge mankind by a devastating flood. After the flood, God makes his first covenant. He promises Noah and his sons to never again cut off life from the earth in such a way. This is signified by a rainbow. The second is through Abraham. Here God makes two covenants. First, the gift of “seed” who will become a great nation to bless the nations, and the gift of land, also known through the OT as the “Promised Land”. These promises were passed down from Abraham to his son Isaac and Jacob. Jacob, is the one to whom God renames Israel. These Abrahamic Covenants become the basis for future covenants with Israel as we will see as the story unfolds.

The nest subplot I will mention has to do with the idea of “Holy war”. This is the spiritual war that seems to be going on in the background from before the beginning of creation. It is only seen in the creation through the temptation by the Servant and then when God curses Satan by the promise of the “seed” that crush his head. Thus the holy war begins. The constant battle between Israel as a God’s chosen people (People of the of promise) and Satan who tries to anticipate this offspring. This war comes through in the wars between Moses and Pharaoh -Yahwah, the one true God and the Egyptian gods, Israel and Canaan and its pagan Gods, and then comes to a climax with Jesus and the cross and ultimately in the book of revelation. While the book of Genesis doesn’t come right out and say there is a motif of Holy War it is evident within the texts you look at the strife between brothers, between the ungodly and the godly seed (Cain/Abel; Ishmael/Isaac; Esau/Jacob), where the elder persecutes the younger through whom God has chosen to work (see Gal 4:29).

Finally, an important thing to remember is that God does not choose these men of promise based on their merit or their character. He accepts them because of their willingness to believe in his word, his promise.

Outline.
1:1–2:3 Prologue
2:4–4:26 The Account of Human Beginnings
5:1–6:8 The Account of Adam’s Family Line
6:9–9:29 The Account of Noah
10:1–11:9 The Account of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Noah’s Sons)
11:10–26 The Account of Shem
11:27–25:11 The Account of Terah
25:12–18 The Account of Ishmael
25:19–35:29 The Account of Isaac
36:1–37:1 The Account of Esau Esau’s
37:2–50:26 The Account of Jacob
Genesis ends with the blessing of Joseph


 

Exodus

Core Ideas.
Israels deliverance from Egypt
Israel constitution as a people through law.
the building of the tabernacle

Book Time Span.
From the time of Joseph’s death to Israel’s camp at Sinai. 1600 B.C. – 1260 B.C.

Emphasis.
God delivers Israel from Egypt through Moses.
The Law Given at Mt. Sinai.
The tabernacle established as a place to worship.
Gods revelation of himself.
Israels constant disobedience.
God’s judgment and mercy during Israels rebellion.

Important Scripture
Exodus 20:1-17
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Major Points of Interest.
Exodus can be a little harder to grasp than Genisis because although chapters 1 – 20 continue to be a narrative, but after it goes into instruction. These include the Ten Commandments, laws for daily life, priestly laws for the tabernacle, and the instructions on precisely how to build the tabernacle. The instructions for the tabernacle were extremely important because it prepared Israel for the Holy God’s presence and there were a sinful people.

The story begins in Egypt were all Israel were enslaved. God then chooses Moses. We see the birth, the murder o\Moses committed, his exile and flight from Egypt, his call to lead Israel, and the revelation of God as Yahweh.

Moses then is sent back to Egypt to deliver Gods chosen people from the enslavement of Pharaoh. It is hear we see this underlying motif of holy war between the one true God and the gods of Egypt. God miraculously delivers Israel through the ten plagues and the Red Sea miracle. The rest of the story then becomes one of God preparation of his people for the covenantal law and its ratification.

Finally, we. See a trend of Israels rebellion in the sequence of God leading Moses through the wilderness. This complaining and rebellion sets the tone for God beginning to shape his people as people of his presence by judge Inc them and renewing his covalent with him. The book concludes as Gods glory fills the tabernacle and in effect by doing so prepares them to go to the promise land.

One final note is we must notice that the law prepares them for the book of Leviticus and also the God’s presence in the tent of meeting prepares them for the book of numbers where the story picks up and they begin to be led by God to the Promised Land.

As you read Exodus we see absolutely defining moments in Israel’s history, which cause this narrative with its embedding of portions of the law to make sense: (1) God’s miraculous deliverance of his people from slavery, (2) the return of the presence of God as distinguishing his people from all other peoples on the earth, and (3) the gift of the law as the means of establishing his covenant with them.

Two Important points must be noted here. Yahweh, God, adopts Israel as his first born son who is to be set free so they may worship him. Secondly, the divine presence of God, lost to mankind in Eden, is now restored as the central part of Israels identity. Their adoption and God’s presence among them not only sets up a foundation for the coming work of the Messiah, but also establishes the true nature of a child of God in Christ.

Outline
1:1–2:25 The Setting: Growth and Oppression of Israel in Egypt
3:1–6:27 The Call and Commission of Moses
6:28–15:21 The Miraculous Deliverance from Bondage
15:22–18:27 The Journey to Mount Sinai
19:1–24:11 The Covenant at Sinai
24:12–31:18 Instructions regarding the Tabernacle
32:1–34:35 Rebellion, Covenant Breaking, Covenant Renewal
35:1–39:43 The Construction of the Tabernacle and Its Furnishings
40:1–38 The Tabernacle Is Set Up and the Glory Descends


Leviticus

Core Ideas.
Laws.
To do with holiness before God and love for your neighbor.
Sacrifices, ritual cleanness, and social obligations.
Levites priestly duties.

Book Time Span.
It is important to note that Leviticus picks up precisely where Exodus left off—with the Lord speaking to Moses “from the Tent of Meeting” and saying, “Speak to the Israelites and say…”

Emphasis.
Getting it correct in terms of worship for people and priests.
Institutional under Aaron.
Ritual cleanliness, including rituals of atonement (Day of Atonement).
Laws of sexuality and relations, family life,
Punishment for crimes.
Festival laws and Jubilees, and Special Years.

Important Scripture.
“For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy”
Leviticus 11.44

Major Points of Interest.
The laws given to Israel are basically categorized into three divisions civil laws for people of the the Israelite community, ceremonial laws are laws for the ceremonies for the religion, and moral laws which are rules of right living as prescribed by God.

To understand this book we must remember that Israel has just been delivered from God and chosen by him to be his people through a covenant with Abraham. Thus, why they are free physically they had been slaves in the flesh to a different master for many years. Moses then has taken them to the wilderness to reacquaint the to God. In this book they are at the foot of Mount Sinai where they will spend more than year before the presence of the Lord. Here God begins to mold them into his people prior to getting their “promised land” and the conquest of Canaan. In this time they need God protection from diseases and from each other. Therefore, in order for these individuals who grew up in slavery to be formed into God’s people, there is great need for them to get two sets of relationships in order, namely, with God and with one another. Note, then, that Leviticus continues with the same ordering of things found in the Ten Commandments (first vertical, then horizontal).

While this book is a hard read from our perspective keep in mind that these people where abused and enslaved and God, the creator of all, has named them his treasured possession. Therefore, there is a renewing that needs to take place from their current state no mindset to the people of God. This shows us that God wished to be Lord in all areas of our life and not just as we see fit.

Finally part of the covenant and plan of God is that these people would be a priest and holy fellowship unto the world. Therefore, rituals of worship were there to mold them into who they were created to be as they were called unto the world. Civil Laws dealt with loving each other, ceremonial laws dealt with loving God as a community, and Moral laws were a demonstration of a Holy life before God and the rest of the world.

Outline
1:1–7:38 Instructions for the Five Offerings
8:1–10:20 Priesthood Begins
11:1–16:34 On Cleanness and Uncleanness
17:1–25:55 The Holiness Code
26:1–4 6 Covenant Sanctions
27:1–3 4 Redemption Laws


Numbers

Core Ideas.
Israelites long stay in the desert.
The journey from Mt. Sinai to Moab.
God gives supplemental covalent all laws

Book Time Span.
God allows those who left Egypt to pass away and this is the the 40 years with the next generation.

Emphasis.
Preparation for military conquest for the promis land.
God renews his covenant with the next generation and his loyalty to them
God leads the people along with Moses and affirms Moses leadership.
Preparation for entering and worshipping in the promised land.
Conquest and settlement in the land east of Jordan.

Important Scripture.
God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
– Numbers 23:19

Major Points of Interest.
Numbers is also al it’ll hard to read because its hard to understand where we are in the story. It primarily records the pilgrimage of Israel through the desert from the foot of Mount Sinai to its encampment in the plains of Moab (on the east bank of the Jordan River), poised for conquest.

An important part of the story is that it is the second generation that ends up on the east bank—because the exodus generation refused to enter by way of the more direct southern route (at Kadesh) and so were judged by God as unworthy to enter at all.

The basic travel narratives are found in 9:15–14:45 (from Sinai to Kadesh, including the refusal to enter and the declaration of God’s judgment) and 20:1–22:1 (from Kadesh to the plains of Moab along the Jordan).

There are four other major sections of narrative that have slightly different functions:
7:1–9:14 records the preparations for the journey;
16–17 speak to the issue of Moses’ and Aaron’s God-given (and recognized) leadership;
the Balaam cycle (22:2–24:25) and the seduction at Shittim with the Baal of Peor (ch. 25) anticipate both the fulfillment of God’s giving them the land and their own capacity nonetheless to be seduced by Canaanite idolatry;
chapters 31–36 narrate events on the east bank as they prepare for conquest.

In order to appreciate how the narrative of Numbers works (both the journey and the various surrounding matters). First, the primary driving force behind everything is God’s promise/covenant with Abraham that his seed. Second, the conquest of the land involves the second stage of the holy war. The first stage—against Pharaoh in Exodus—even though led by Moses, was carried out by God the Divine Warrior through miraculous intervention. In this second stage, God intends his own people to be involved. Third, recall that in Genesis 12:7, immediately following the promise of the land, Abraham built an altar to the Lord. As you now read the various law portions interspersed within this narrative, you will find that they focus primarily on the Israelites’ relationship with their God. Thus both the central role of the tabernacle and the priestly matters in Numbers continue to focus on two previous concerns in the Pentateuch to this point: the presence of God in the midst of his people. Finally, God’s people themselves do not come off well in Numbers. You can hardly miss the relentless nature of their complaints and disobedience. In fact, apart from the future blessing that God speaks through a pagan prophet, there is hardly a good word about them in the entire narrative.

Outline.
1:1–2:34 The Census at Sinai
3:1–4:49 The Account of the Levites
5:1–6:27 Cleansing the Camp
7:1–9:14 Final Preparations for Departure
9:1 5–14:45 From Sinai to Kadesh
15:1–41 Supplemental Laws
16:1–19:22 The Crisis over Leadership and Priesthood
20:1–25:17 From Kadesh to the Plains of Moab
26:1–36:13 In Moab: Preparations for Entry into the Land


Deuteronomy

Core Ideas.
Rehearsal of the covenant for the new generation prior to conquest.

Book Time Span.
The final weeks east of Jordan.

Emphasis.
The oneness and uniqueness of God over all other so called Gods.
Yahweh’s love for Israel shown through his covenant.
Yahweh’s sovereignty over all peoples.
Israel as a model unto all nations.
The significant of the the temple and worship.
God’s concern for justice and that his people reflect his Character.
The blessing of obedience and the danger of disobedience.

Important Scripture.
Here O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
– Deuteronomy 6:4

Major Points of Interest.
This book is different. It is constantly looking backward at the beginning as well looking forward towards the end. This is because the next generation needs to understand all that God has done as well as renew his covenant with them and take them to the placed promised through Abraham.

A main theme that drives not only this book but many others is Israel’s strict monotheism and their devotion to Yahweh. The primary pronouncement is known as the Shema found in chapter 6:4. “Here Oh Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This distinguished Israel from all other nations and peoples. This was confirmed by Jesus when he told us the greatest commandment was ““Hear, O Israel: The L ORD our God, the L ORD is one. Love the L ORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

There are also three things to look for when you are reading this book.

The constant reminder that Israel will posses the land.
The reminder that when they possess the land to avoid all idolatry and to destroy all places of Canaanite worship along with there evil Gods.
The reminder that they are to worship in the temple where Yahweh’s presence dwell.

These matters are important because the whole biblical story depends on them. At issue is not simply a choice between Yahweh and a Baal—although that too is involved—but syncretism,
This is the idea that Yahweh can be worshiped along sides other Gods. Yahweh is the one God whereas the Canaanite Gods where many. The importance of the Ten Commandments come into play here. God is renewing these chosen people through these laws. Do not worship any other God and Don’t make Idols run counterculture to the surrounding countries and antithetical to who and what God truly is. Man was made from God and it was an abomination to God that man would make God. Yahweh had no form and again it was an abomination to God for man to make his likeness out of the very creation he gave them. As we move away from the revelation of God to us we always make God in our image for our purposes rather than the other way around.

Outline.
1:1–3:29 Historical Prologue
4:1–43 Introduction to the Great Exhortation
4:44–11:32 The Great Exhortation
12:1–26:19 The Deuteronomic Code
16:18–18:22 Laws Governing Leadership
19:1–25:19 Laws Governing Community Life
26:1–19 Conclusion
27:9–28:68 Covanenet Ceremony
31:1–34:12 The Look Forward

Map of Travel Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers

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