Your guide to the Pentateuch

The word, “Pentateuch,” comes from the Greek word, “Pentateuchos.” This means, “Consisting of five books,” which represents the first five books of the Old Testament, and is known as “The Books of the Law.” In Joshua 1:7-8, Matthew 5:17, and Luke 2:23, the Law is referred to as seemingly, “one book.” The Law is “one book” in Hebrew manuscripts.

Authorship of the Pentateuch is attributed to Moses. Jesus seems to validate this, as it says in Mark 7:10, “Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother.” Or we read in Mark 12:26, “Have ye not read in the Book of Moses?”

Genesis teaches the origin of all things and gives to us a powerful picture of God creating, forming, and fashioning the world to meet the needs of His People. It is the starting point to discovering how all things came to be, and is the seed from which all things grow. It is an essential to learning and understanding the Bible, and is the foundation of which the truth upon which Divine Revelation sits. Its literary style is prose, and reveals the existence and essence of God. This Book has 50 chapters and 1533 total verses. The time that this was written was probably around the 40 years of Wilderness Wanderings, which were around 1300 BC. While it was written in the Sinai Peninsula Wilderness, it was directed to the Israelites. It seems the history that was covered was beginning at Creation up to Joseph’s death – about 2,500 years overall. We see the picture of Christ as the seed of a woman, in Genesis 3:15.

Chapters 12-50 introduce us to the Great Patriarchs, who are known as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. There are two main divisions found in the Book of Genesis, which are the Four Great Facts (notably Creation, the Fall of Humanity, The Deluge, and The Nations) and the Great Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph).

Creation account

  1. Light (not specifically the sun)
  2. Firmament (the air, heavens, etc.)
  3. Dry ground & vegetation
  4. Sun, moon, and stars (God restores them)
  5. Fish (whales) and fowl
  6. Animals and Man

Man’s failure

The steps of Man’s failure involved doubting, adding, misquoting, contradicting, misinterpreting, yielding to temptation of transgressing, transgressing, and receiving the results of transgressing God’s Word. The curses of chapter three were upon the serpent, satan, woman, man, earth, and all creation. For the serpent, God sent the serpent on its belly to be cursed above all cattle and every beast of the field, and also to eat dust for the rest of its life. There is additionally enmity put between the serpent and the woman, including their seeds having enmity – to which it shall bruise their head and heel.

For the woman, God multiplied sorrow greatly, especially in conception – and the desire of her shall be to the husband, where he rules over her. For Adam, since he followed his wife and ate of the tree, wherefore, cursed is the ground for his sake, to which, in sorrow, he shall eat of it all the days of his life. Thorns and thistles shall be brought forth unto him, and he shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat and hard work, he shall eat bread, and work for his food.

The three Messianic Prophecies in Genesis are the seed of woman, seed of Abraham, and seed of Judah. The seed of woman involved predicting or prophesying the coming of the Messiah, for the virgin birth is the inclusion here, to which humanity would become saved. The first family is identified in Genesis 4, to which we see Adam and Eve, and then their sons Cain and Abel. Cain, whose name means, “possession,” was a tiller of the ground, a liar, murderer, wrath-giver, envious, and jealous person. God did not like Cain’s first offering, which humbled Cain. The Lord gives him another opportunity to please Him. Abel, whose name means, “vanity,” was a keeper of the sheep. The Lord respected and liked Abel’s offering. Cain did not like this and murdered his brother, becoming the first murderer.

Shem’s lineage would be prophesied as blessed, and that Canaan will serve him (this blessing is a prophecy of the Messiah). Shem involved 26 nations that remained in the region around the Tigris and Euphrates. The sons of Shem were Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram. Through Aram came Hul, Gether, and Mash. Through Arphaxad came Salah and Eber. Through Eber then came Peleg and Joktan. Through Peleg came Reu, Serug, Terah, and Abram. Through Joktan came Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jorah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, and Jobab.

sons of God

The Old Testament “sons of God” were considered angels, as we see in Job 1:6. It was only used in OT Scripture a few times, and mostly served as describing angels in the Book of Job. Anyway, as the angels in Genesis 6, these ones were involved in a wicked sin of fornication and leaving their created state (now bound in Tartarus). These angels left their own dwellings and invaded the human sphere by partaking of humanity’s sin.

God’s dealings with Noah

We see in Genesis 6:6-8, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” God then entrusts Noah with a task to build an ark, so that God may destroy Earth.

“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:13). God gives instructions for building the ark for the remainder of chapter 6. Scripture also records that Noah did all that God told him to do (Genesis 6:22; 7:5). After the destructive, flooding waters were gone, the ark rested upon Mount Ararat, to which, Noah checked with the birds.

God commanded him to go forth and be fruitful and multiply the earth with his family (Genesis 8:17-19). Noah then built an altar for sacrifices to be brought to Him. After that, God promised, even though the imagination of a man’s heart is evil, He will never again smite any more every thing living. He confirmed this with a covenant, as we see in Genesis 9:8 and further. Flesh shall not be cut off any more by the waters of a flood or a flood used to destroy the earth. The token of the covenant that lasts is a rainbow (just “bow”) in Scripture. The sons of Noah then left the ark and all replenished the earth. Noah lived for 350 years after the flood before dying at 950 years.

The “sign of the Covenant” is a “bow” as we see in Scripture, which is Genesis 9:12-17. This bow, a rainbow, as we call it these days, because it seems to only appear when water comes between our vision and the sun; would be the token of the covenant between God and Noah*. The Lord said He would remember the covenant, and would help Man remember this covenant through the token of the bow, so no one would forget that God would not destroy the earth with a flood anymore. (*-and through future generations of Man.)

Tower of Babel incident

The languages of the earth were the same until the Tower of Babel incident, where we see Nimrod involved in Genesis chapter 11. In this situation, a plain was found in the Land of Shinar, to which, they said they would like to build a city and a tower, whose top may reach heaven, and make a name for themselves unless they were to be scattered abroad the face of the earth. They wanted to build the tower so that they would not be separated.

However, the Lord came down and looked at all of their work, and couldn’t believe that they gather themselves together (to which, would probably allow too much trouble or sin to be caused, as well as the potential limiting of population growth). Therefore, the Lord scattered them abroad in the earth and confounded (that is, confused) their language so that they cannot understand each other’s speech. They left off to build the city, which would be called Babel, because the Lord confounded the language of all the earth. This was God’s way of humbling these proud men, and removing them from their projects by confusing their language, so they couldn’t communicate such sinful ways with each other anymore.

In Acts 2, we see the glorious unity of a heavenly language, which was one to bring glory unto God. Where we see a unity of language to bring about good things (especially heavenly things), can be compared to the Tower of Babel situation that unity of language brought pride and strife unto Man. Heavenly language would be more powerful and prevalent, and therefore, would bring more glory unto God.

We see language contemporarily used as a device to unify cultures and bring order to societies. However, language is still used in prideful ways, as countries are proud of their own language (which is not that big of a deal). Where language becomes bad is when it is used for malicious or harmful reasons, which is a source of negative pride, because God does not want malicious, prideful people to get away with murder and violence. God wants to limit the ability of such harmful pride by humbling such forces and attempting to restore order. God is not in a league to kill off prideful people, but He does have ways of humbling people and can help restore order where needed.

Abraham

Abraham was the founder of the Nation of Israel. We see in Genesis 11, most of humanity is turning their back on God as before the flood of Noah. Israel then, through Abraham, is chosen as a channel through which the promised “seed of woman,” the redeemer of the world, shall come. The coming Messiah will identify with Israel, for Israel (Jacob) is the one man whom the promised will be poured out upon, which then became the nation of Israel.

Abraham was born into an idolatrous family and environment (as we see in Joshua 24:2), to which, his father, Terah even worshipped the moon. Terah took Abram, his son, and Lot; going forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans unto the Land of Canaan. Abram is the central figure in this account, and Ur of Chaldeans was an idolatrous city. Abraham was taken along with the families by Terah and went northwest from Mesopotamia about 600 miles to the old city of Haran – which was a trade center between Babylonia and the Mediterranean and Egypt. When at Haran, the family established their second home and remained until God spoke to Abram after the death of his father to get out of the country and form kindred, and from his father’s house, He will show him to the land he is to go.

The promise by God that was made unto Abraham was six fold, as we see in Genesis 12:2-3, and defined as such, “I will make of thee a great nation, bless thee, make thy name great, thou shalt be a blessing, will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curseth thee, and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” God had a plan to start all over, and Abraham was to leave his people and face a new world that God led him to. With the aid of God, he would establish the true religion in the new land, and must go on “faith,” to which he needed to know what would be revealed to him as he journeyed to the new land.

Abraham’s answer to the call of God was his journeying another 400 miles from Haran to Canaan, taking his wife, Lot, and taking all their possessions, camels, cattle, and slaves. Shechem was a place named in Canaan where Abraham built an altar unto God. From Shechem, he went to Bethel where he built another altar and called upon the name of the Lord. Next, from Bethel, they journeyed 50 some miles further south, but here they ran into a great famine. In a time of unbelief then, they journeyed unto Egypt. Abraham next gets into trouble, as Abraham tells a lie to the Pharaoh that Sarah is his sister instead of his wife. Since this wasn’t the whole truth, as Pharaoh suspected, and Pharaoh commanded him to leave Egypt. From Egypt where they left God, they journeyed back to Bethel and built an altar unto the Lord again.

Now, the herds of Lot and Abraham were very large and there arose a contention between their herdsmen, for Abraham gave Lot first choice of land and allowed him to choose the direction he would go. Lot chose the plains of Jordan on the East, and then Abraham headed toward the hill country of Canaan to the West. Lot’s choice was based on material advantage and self-interest, and he ended up in an environment of two wicked cities, Sodom and Gomorrah.

After that, Abraham heard God speak to him as we see in Genesis 13:14-16, to which the Lord told him that after Lot was separated from him, he is to see with his eyes from the place where He is; looking all around – and the land that he sees, the seed of him will be given unto this land forever. From that, he will be made the seed as the dust of the earth so that if Man is to measure the amount of dust of the earth, then the seed can also be numbered.

Abraham is first referred to as a “Hebrew,” which means, “of the country beyond.” He lived to be an old man, who was blessed of the Lord in every way but one, which was that he had no children (especially not a son). He had no one to receive his inheritance or to bless the future generations. This is part of the reason he doubted the covenant between him and God. However, God required faith for it to work, and therefore, he set out to do as called.

Now, at Sarah’s pleading, Abraham tried to fulfill this promise in her way (which was her own way), and she gave to Abraham her handmaid Hagar – to which, Ishmael was born because of this, however, he was not of the promised seed. Since they did not wait for the promise of the Father, they went forth in the flesh, only to find conflict. However, the covenant was then reaffirmed in Genesis 17:4-8, to which, the sign of this covenant between God and Abraham (notably, “Abrahamic Covenant”) would be circumcision – which would be required for every male. This covenant also provided a son and heir, as the Lord said, to which, a nation is declared from Ishmael and his twelve sons.

The Lord had promised an heir to Abraham through Sarah (her name changed from Sarai to Sarah, because she would be called the mother of nations), and the Lord appeared to Abraham against in the plains of Mamre with two other men (three men-angels) and renewed the promise of the son. Sarah had overheard this and laughed, because of her age. She denoted with sarcasm, “is anything too hard for the Lord?” Going forward, there is the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, to which Abraham made a request for Lot to be spared from it.

Anyway, we see the born son of Abraham and Sarah, whose name is Isaac, which meant, “God hath made me laugh.” Abraham was 100 years of age when Isaac was born, and Sarah was around 91. Both Abraham and Sarah laughed about the bearing of a child in their old age; however, Abraham learned one last lesson.

The last lesson that Abraham learned was about sacrifice and worship, as we see in chapter 22. It was an ancient custom among the Canaanites and other heathen tribes of offering human sacrifices to God, therefore, to test the faith of Abraham further, as well as to demonstrate that God preferred the worship and service of a living son (over a sacrifice) rather than a dead one, God had commanded Abraham to go to Mount “Moriah” to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham had obeyed God and proceeded forward to the mountain, assuring God he would go through with it. However, at the last moment before the death of his son, God stopped him and a ram was caught in the thicket – which was symbolic of the future Jesus Christ sacrifice. Therefore, Abraham learned from this lesson that God is “Jehovah-Jireh,” meaning, “The Lord will provide.”

Chapter 22 explains more of the Abrahamic Covenant, and then in chapter 24, we see Abraham’s last days as he muses on a suitable wife for Isaac. He provided a bride for Isaac. Isaac was a necessary link in the process of fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham, and therefore, Isaac is recognized as a man of faith as well, who invoked future blessings upon his sons. Abraham then died at the age of 175 and buried with Sarah; described as “a good old man full of years” (25:7-11). The covenant of promise to Abraham was renewed and extended to his son Isaac and to his descendants.

The promise by God that was made unto Abraham was six fold, as we see in Genesis 12:2-3, and defined as such, “I will make of thee a great nation, bless thee, make thy name great, thou shalt be a blessing, will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curseth thee, and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

There is the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, to which Abraham made a request for Lot to be spared from it. Most of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were vile; however, Lot was a caring person, so Abraham wanted him saved. However, they were told not to look back, that is Lot and his wife. Sadly, Lot’s wife looked back (which was in disobedience to God), and was turned into a pillar of salt. Lot went up to a cave in the mountains out of Zoar with his daughters and dwelt there.

At Sarah’s pleading, Abraham tried to fulfill this promise in her way (which was her own way), and she gave to Abraham her handmaid Hagar – to which, Ishmael was born because of this, however, he was not of the promised seed. Since they did not wait for the promise of the Father, they went forth in the flesh, only to find conflict. This covenant between God and Abraham also provided a son and heir, as the Lord said, to which, a nation is declared from Ishmael and his twelve sons.

The Lord had promised an heir to Abraham through Sarah (her name changed from Sarai to Sarah, because she would be called the mother of nations), and the Lord appeared to Abraham against in the plains of Mamre with two other men (three men-angels) and renewed the promise of the son. Sarah had overheard this and laughed, because of her age. She denoted with sarcasm, “is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Anyway, we see the born son of Abraham and Sarah, whose name is Isaac, which meant, “God hath made me laugh.” Abraham was 100 years of age when Isaac was born, and Sarah was around 91. Both Abraham and Sarah laughed about the bearing of a child in their old age; however, Abraham learned one last lesson. The sign of this covenant between God and Abraham (notably, “Abrahamic Covenant”) would be circumcision – which would be required for every male.

Sarah gave to Abraham her handmaid Hagar – to which, Ishmael was born because of this, however, he was not of the promised seed. He was called Ishmael, as we see in Genesis 16:11, “because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.” In the verses following, it proves this would not be the son of promise, because he is described as to be a wild man with hand against every man and every man’s hand against him. He would dwell in the presence of all his brethren. Later in chapter 21, we see Abraham sending Hagar and Ishmael away to go to the wilderness of Beersheba. Then, we see that Ishmael shall be the founder of the Ishmaelites, and would bear twelve sons who would inhabit all the country from the Euphrates to the Red Sea.

It is believed that the people of Ishmael today are the Arabs, and therefore, they follow Ishmaelism. Since the Arabs of the present day follow Islam, they are very much in battle with Israel over religion, because the Israelis are in Christianity (and have fully Jewish roots). Also, in general, Jews from Arab countries are not categorized as Arabs – therefore, it is possible that many Arab people have issues with this.

The last lesson that Abraham learned was about sacrifice and worship, as we see in chapter 22. It was an ancient custom among the Canaanites and other heathen tribes of offering human sacrifices to God, therefore, to test the faith of Abraham further, as well as to demonstrate that God preferred the worship and service of a living son (over a sacrifice) rather than a dead one, God had commanded Abraham to go to Mount “Moriah” to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham had obeyed God and proceeded forward to the mountain, assuring God he would go through with it. However, at the last moment before the death of his son, God stopped him and a ram was caught in the thicket – which was symbolic of the future Jesus Christ sacrifice. Therefore, Abraham learned from this lesson that God is “Jehovah-Jireh,” meaning, “The Lord will provide.”

The practical lesson of this was the “The Lord will provide” one who would sacrifice Himself for all of humanity, Jesus Christ. This embodiment of God would come and provide Himself as a sacrifice for humanity, so that many old things could be put away and new things brought forth. It also would bring the fulfilling of the Law and righteousness imputed upon God’s People so that they can be with Him for eternity. This also would fulfill the Davidic Covenant of Jesus coming to take the throne of Israel and make us Christians His People, the spiritual Israel!

Isaac and family

The family of Isaac is detailed in chapter 25, where we see Rebekah, his wife, and Esau and Jacob, his twin sons. Isaac was established in Canaan, as we see in chapter 26, where the Covenant is confirmed to Isaac. Isaac also has trouble with Abimelech, so he tried the same deceit his father did many years prior. God granted a blessing to Isaac, and he was a farmer, well digger, and Patriarch of the Abrahamic Covenant. In his Patriarchal blessing, Isaac favors Esau and Rebekah favors Jacob. Overall, Isaac was the successor as head of the tribe and was a peaceful patriarch who was also obedient to the Lord just like his father.

Isaac denied his wife, and the temptation was the same as that of his father. He chose to speak that Rebekah was just his sister – for he was afraid of being killed for saying that she was his wife. However, Abimelech saw that she was his wife, and caught him in the act of lying. He confesses of his trouble and tells the truth, but Abimelech charged all his people not to touch his wife. Isaac favored Esau, and Rebekah favored Jacob.

Esau was known as a hairy man, cunning hunter, and liked to live in the wilderness. He didn’t have much respect for his birthright, it seems, as he traded it for a pot of red lintel pottage. However, Esau was deeply beloved by his father. Esau, son of Isaac, disregarded the ideals of his parents and married a Hittite woman. He was mentioned in the Book of Hebrews to be labeled with the group of fornicators, and described as profane. Esau, overall, lacked faith in God, a true sense of values, and appreciation for his birthright.

Then there was Jacob

Jacob was the other son of Isaac. Jacob was called the supplanter, because he dwelt in tents and could cook well. He was aggressive and seemed to get what he wanted, even if it meant taking advantage of someone, even a brother. He took advantage of his own brother, Esau, in purchasing his brother’s birthright, which was the right of the firstborn to have preeminence in the family. Shortly afterward, Jacob committed another deceptive act with his mother’s willful help, which was stealing the blessing that his father intended to speak upon Esau. The blessing was not meant for Jacob by his father, however, it was meant to be Jacob’s according to God’s sovereign plan for His Covenant with Abraham. The names of Jacob’s 12 sons were – with Leah: Reuben his firstborn, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. With Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. With Rachel’s handmaid, Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali. With Leah’s handmaid, Zilpah: Gad and Asher.

At Shechem, Jacob bought a piece of land, to which he pitched a tent. There, he had erected an altar of worship unto the Lord and also dug a well. This would bear his name, which would be famous for 4,000 of Hebrew history. Trouble then arose between the tribe of Jacob and the Canaanites, to which, the Lord directed Jacob-Israel to move further south to Bethel and make an altar there, but before departing, Jacob decided to cleanse his household. In cleansing his household, he wanted every idol and foreign god put away.

It appears that Jacob’s wives and servants were all from Haran, and sadly, also were idolaters. Therefore, Jacob took all of their images and idols, and hid them under the oak tree near Shechem. Here he started a crusade against idolatry, which brought great influence in the future times. Since idolatry was such a major issue, it was important to conduct such ritual.

After that, God appeared to Jacob there, renewing the covenant made with him, and also assuring him that a company of nations and kings would come from Israel. From Bethel, Jacob and his family voyaged south to Hebron, where Rachel suddenly died on the way while giving birth to their twelfth son, Benjamin. Finally, Jacob rejoined his father, Isaac, after being separated for 30 years. Isaac died shortly after Jacob’s arrival, however.

Joseph and his dreams

Joseph, overall, was Jacob’s pride and joy, to which, he was given a full length panache coat, which was a distinctive mark of a tribal chief. At age 17, he was shepherding a flock with his brothers. His older brothers hated him, because he was always the one who received attention from the parents, and was able to spend much more time indoors studying and learning how to rule, rather than working out in the field as they did.

After this, Joseph had a dream and told it to his brothers. The dream was symbolic of the fact that his brothers would one day bow down to them as Joseph ruled over them. The hatred swelled with his brothers, who had thought that Joseph was just being haughty, therefore, they plotted to oust him somehow. While the others thought killing him or letting him suffer in a pit, Judah favored selling him for slavery to a caravan of Ishmaelites. Therefore, liking the idea, the brothers tagged up to sell their brother, Joseph, to the Ishmaelites – who took Joseph to Egypt. While in Egypt, he was finally sold to become a slave of Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. When they broke the news to their father, the brother lied about what happened to Joseph, saying that he was attacked to pieces by wild animals.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, Joseph rose to prosperity through hard work, and through the skills he had learned while gleaning from his father’s wisdom and his studies. Whether it was working hard cleaning floors, or seeing that someone tried to defraud Potiphar – Joseph had become beloved by Potiphar. Joseph was given great authority and was noted for fame through the land. In his humility, he interpreted the king’s dream. Joseph’s recognition and trust of God merited him, so that he became promoted that he was made overseer of many things in Potiphar’s house.

However, later, after a mix-up between whether or not he betrayed Potiphar by sleeping with his wife; Potiphar did not believe Joseph over his wife, therefore, due to the wife’s slithery lies; Joseph was then sent to prison. While imprisoned on false charges, he was blessed eventually by becoming the warden there, and used this to help his fellow prisoners. The butler had remembered Joseph and knew he could interpret dreams, so Pharaoh needed dreams interpreted and Joseph was brought to do so.

Because of the interpretation (accurate) of Pharaoh’s dreams and role of helping to save Egypt, he was exalted. He became the chief administrator for Pharaoh, to which he guided Egypt through the crucial years of plenty and famine, and even saved his own family from starvation (which they had no clue he did until he showed himself later). Joseph’s favor with Pharaoh caused his family to receive pastureland in Goshen for the migration of the Israelites to Egypt. In Goshen, they could shepherd their flocks, and also give service to Pharaoh’s flocks.

Before his father’s death, his father blessed his own sons and the two sons of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) as the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel, which would one day become a mighty nation. Before Joseph had died in Egypt, he voted in confidence of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These promises had been faithfully given to each generation, and Joseph believed that God would fulfill these promises to bring the Israelites back to their Promised Land. At last, he made his descendants take an oath to carry his bones up from Egypt to the Promised Land.

The practical lesson learned from the study of Joseph was that there is no doubt that God was working through him not only to save Egypt, but to also help restore Israel. It was great that a humble man, hated by most of his family (but loved by his parents), was sold to slavery, but didn’t let that stop him. His survival skills, so to speak, kicked in, to which, he worked hard, used the things he was taught, and stayed humble – which had brought him great promotion in the end. It proves also that God humbles the exalted, but exalts those who’re humble. Seeing the example of Joseph is an encouragement that through hard work, discipline, and good thinking along with humility will bring good things.

The Exodus

Exodus means, “A going out,” or, “a departure.” It is the departure of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. The Book of Exodus inspires us because it is a standard to us of the power of God on behalf of His children. Humanity sins, disobeys, and refuses to heed the warnings of God’s Word and God forgives them, keeps them, and restores them. In Exodus, we see how easy it is for man to get into bondage and we note the deliverance and grace of our God.

The Israelites originally came to Egypt because of Joseph and were highly favored because of him, however, there came a change in rulership and Scriptures say, “one who know not Joseph,” began to rule (Exodus 1:8). Therefore, the Egyptians became fearful of the rapidly growing number of the Israelites and their strength in the land. Israel’s new king made it so they deal wickedly and shrewdly with the Hebrew people.

After that, the King commanded that the midwives kill all the male Hebrew children, so this brought terror among the Hebrews (Israelites) at this time. Through time, even after Moses was born, this tension stayed around, and made it very difficult for the Israelites to stay in Egypt. Jochebed hid her son, Moses, for three months from the Egyptian rulership, however, when she could no longer do this, she weaved a small basket (“ark”) and put him in it to be sailed on the Nile. The daughter of Pharaoh found Moses, and took him in. Jochebed would raise her own son for the daughter of Pharaoh, and when he was old enough, he moved into the King’s palace.

Moses was brought up in a Hebrew household, and then in the King’s court. He was educated well, and then when he was 40 years of age, he killed an Egyptian (some seem to think this was accidental), because he was angry with the Egyptian for beating a Hebrew. Fearing for his life, he buried the Egyptian quickly, but the murder became known, so Moses fled for his life. He journeyed southeast to Midian, where he pondered the course of the rest of his life.

Moses remained in Midian for 40 years, keeping his father-in-law’s flock. In the King’s palace, he learned the ways of the world, and in 40 years shepherding, he learned the ways of God. This prepared him for the wilderness, where had eventually come upon the “burning bush.” At 80 years old, Moses was called through the burning bush. The Angel of the Lord appeared before him, and was sent to Pharaoh so that he could bring forth His People from out of Egypt. God said that he would be with Moses while he went to Egypt to plead with Pharaoh about releasing the Israelites.

However, Moses had many excuses on why he didn’t want to do it, or what might happen. God had the answers, though, and it was clear that God sent Him by the power that Moses was equipped with. He was forewarned that Pharaoh would harden his heart against him, but encouraged him anyway that this was a cause great enough to risk going to Pharaoh. God had Pharaoh’s heart hardened, because He wanted His people to know that it was God that was leading them out of Egypt.

Later, God dealt with Aaron and sent him to the wilderness to meet Moses. Aaron was still in Egypt and didn’t see Moses for 40 years. Being a miracle from God, when they met, Moses told him of all that God had given him. Therefore, they returned to the people to give them good news that God had heard their prayers. Once Moses and Aaron demonstrated the “signs,” people believed and worshiped God!

The Ten Plagues

Moses and Aaron called the elders together and declared the “Good News.” God was going to set His People free, so they came before Pharaoh. There are ten different plagues that they post/warn unto Pharaoh, if he refuses to let the Israelites free. Of course, Pharaoh was so hardhearted that they went through all these (and they happened as prophesied).

The first plague involved blood through the land of Egypt for seven days. The second plague would be that frogs come and cover all the Land of Egypt. Of course, the magicians attempt to enchant and act as if the power Moses and Aaron had was similar to what they could perform. The third plague was that dust became lice (the magicians couldn’t produce lice). The fourth plague was to occur as swarms of flies (the Israelites were also protected now from any further plagues). The fifth plague was grievous murrain, which was a disease upon the cattle, horses, asses, oxen, camels, and sheep.

Next, the sixth plague was boils upon man and beast, followed by hail as a seventh plague. Locusts were launched in the eighth plague and darkness over the land as the ninth. Pharaoh’s heart was so hard that he warned Moses not to approach him anymore. Therefore, the tenth and final plague was the death of the firstborn of all the families in the land, except for the Israelites (as long as they heeded the directions for the “Passover”). These were the ten plagues that were used to bring the Israelites from out of Egypt.

Passover

Passover began the “beginning of months,” which was April. These are directions given for the Passover: on the tenth day, every man takes a lamb for his house. The lamb shall be without blemish for the first year. Then, on the fourteenth day, they were to kill the lamb, and then take the blood of it and apply it to the top and both of the sides of the door of their house. After this, they were to eat the meat roasted by fire the same night with unleavened bread and bitter herbs; leaving nothing left. They would have to eat it with their loins girded, shoes on, and staff in hand – making haste.

On this night, the death angel came to smite all of the firstborn in the Land of Egypt. The blood must be on the doorpost of the house, or else the firstborn wouldn’t be spared, be it Israelite or Egyptian. The angel was to pass over the house, if it saw the blood on the doorpost. Afterward would be the feast of unleavened bread, where they were to eat unleavened bread for seven days. They could not work and they had to have it prepared ahead of time, for anyone caught eating leavened bread was cut off from the congregation of Israel.

When it comes to Jesus Christ, and the types & shadows of Him in the Passover, we should recognize:

  1. The Pascal Lamb – Jesus the Lamb of God
  2. “Without blemish” – Jesus the Perfect Lamb
  3. “First Year” – innocent and without sin
  4. “Roasted by Fire” – God’s judgment, on behalf of Jesus
  5. “Leaven” – sin (Jesus taught the parable on leaven)
  6. “Bitter Herbs” – Christ’s death, a bitter cup 7.     “Lamb not sodden with water” – At the piercing of Jesus’ side, water and blood gushed out “Blood on the Lintel” – Jesus’ blood that was shed for us and has been placed over our life; we are His. The blood was a protection against the death angel.

Exodus discussing

The idea of 2-3 million souls going out of Egypt was rather ridiculous, and would be a very crowded travel, especially taking the shortest route. However, the shortest route was best, especially in moving so many people. It must have been the longest line, people were likely tired, and it probably took a long time overall.

The test of faith was when they looked back and saw the Egyptians coming after them – for this created much fear. However, Moses declared for them to fear not, but see the salvation of the Lord for he shall fight for them. The symbolism of crossing the Red Sea involved a type of death, where you leave the old world Egypt, and go into the new world through the Sea. After they had cross the Sea, God raised the pillar of the cloud, to which, the Egyptians came into the Sea after them. God caused their chariot wheels to come off in the middle of the Sea to slow them down. They realized that God was fighting for Israel. Pharaoh and his chariots began to turn back, but thought they had already gone too far – but Moses raised his hand and the Red Sea closed upon them.

Exodus 15:1, “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.”

When they came upon Marah, they found bitter water. The people murmured against Moses, so Moses came before the Lord about it. God showed Moses the tree to cast into the waters to make it sweet. This is symbolic to Jesus, because He is the branch that can sweeten our bitter waters – especially, when life (like the guard at the crucifixion) tries to give us bitter wine (troubles), Christ is there to be the branch that can sweeten/lighten our troubles. Even if Christ was given bitter wine, He still made it sweet, as beautiful water/blood gushed out from Him soon after.

In Exodus 15:25, He proves to them that they failed in the trial of faith they were tested in. He then said in the next verse, “And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” He provided them healing, as well as blessings, which stem forth as part of the covenant.

Their journey had continued from the Wilderness of Sin to Rephidim, where the Israelites camped. Now comes a second murmuring over “water.” At Marah, the water was not drinkable, however, at Rephidim, there wasn’t any water at all. Moses cried unto the Lord again, so God told him to go to a certain rock. Exodus 17:5-6, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”

In Exodus 17:9, Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up on the hill during the battle. When Moses had held up his hands, Israel prevailed, and then Moses let his hands down – and when he let his hands down, Amalek prevailed. Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms when he couldn’t, so that Israel won the battle. The rod of God was again used then, “Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” In 17:14, we see the memorial written in the book, which was to be rehearsed in the ears of Joshua, “I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” This was fulfilled, and there aren’t any Amalekites. Moses then builds an altar, as we see in the next two verses, to which, he called it “Jehovah-nissi,” which means, “The Lord our Banner.”

Moses on the Mountain of God

Moses had ascended up the mountain of God again, to which the Lord spoke to him. However, on the third day, there were, “thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled…the Lord descended upon it in fire…and the whole mount quaked greatly…and when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder…” God was in their midst. Redemption from Egypt obligated Israel to be God’s Holy Nation. God, who made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants, had delivered the Israelites and entered them into a covenant with Himself as a nation. The idea, though, behind the visitation, was to show that God was truly with Moses, and that God had instructed him. God wanted to make a peculiar, holy people, which would distinguish them from all the heathen nations around.

While Moses was in the mount for several weeks receiving instructions from God, Aaron, in a moment of weakness, took the golden earrings and made them a “golden calf.” He also built an altar before the “golden calf,” to which, God saw and became angry with them. Moses came and reminded God of His covenants with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all of their descendants. The Lord stood by His Word, and therefore, when Moses came down and saw the “golden calf” and the people worshipping idols, he became very angry as to throw the tablets to stone (The Ten Commandments) on the ground, which broke them. After breaking the tablets on the ground, he took the calf and burnt it, grounded it to powder, and mixed it with water for the people to drink. Moses went up to the mount and prayed before the Lord about the people’s sin being so great, especially in their idolatry. He asked for forgiveness on their behalf. Therefore, God forgave them, but the people reaped what they had sown.

Later, the Lord had spake to Moses, telling him to create two more tablets of stone like the first one. Moses came down with his face shown, but the people were afraid of him. Therefore, until he was done speaking with the Lord, he covered his face with a veil. God’s glory was veiled even until Jesus caused the veil to be torn from top to bottom into two parts at His death. Therefore, it is suggested that Moses had God’s glory upon him to do His work, and then when the work was finished, the veil would be removed (just as when Jesus said it is finished, the veil was torn into two).

The Three Feasts

  • The Feast of Passover, which celebrated Israel’s departure from Egypt. Relates best in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
  • The Feast of Pentecost, which celebrated the Giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. This relates best in the New Testament to the Acts 2:1-4 scenario, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
  • The Feast of the Tabernacles, which celebrated Israel’s 40 years of “Wilderness Wanderings.” We see only one instance in the New Testament, which was in John 7:2, “Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.” This feast was still a feast of remembrance of the forty years that the Jews dwelt in the wilderness. Seemed Jesus did not want to attend this feast, because He said that His time had not yet come. Supposing Jesus wanted to stay in humility, He showed up a few days late, to which, I believe He was avoiding them making a grand caravan entrance for Him. Conversely, He could’ve said it was not time yet, because He was yet to be remembered for His 40 day fast & temptations, etc.

The detail of the Tabernacle

  • The Tabernacle was the holy place where the Lord’s presence resided.
    • Spiritual application: We are the spiritual Tabernacle where He desires to dwell.
  • The Tabernacle was 45’ long and 15’ wide, facing the east and divided into two rooms.
  • THE HOLY PLACE: 30’x15’ with three pieces of furniture:
    • Table of Shewbread
      • Spiritual application: fellowship and communion with God, which contemporarily in the Church was brought through Christ as a remembrance for His sacrifice (bread and wine)
    • Seven lamp golden candlestick
      • Spiritual application: Christ, the light of the world o   Altar of Incense §  Spiritual application: golden altar – sweet savor of Christ
    • Holy anointing oil (Moses was given instructions for using it)
      • Spiritual application: this is still used to “lay hands upon” people for healing and anointing, as well as used for blessing people (to go out into ministry or just generally blessed). Sometimes, contemporarily, people will use it to “bless” or “protect” a house, pews of the church or the church itself, anoint other objects, etc.
    • THE HOLY OF HOLIES: the Ark of the Covenant; the place where God’s Presence dwelt
      • The Ark of the Covenant housed the Mercy Seat
        • Spiritual application: the Mercy Seat represented the presence of God
      • The Ten Commandments
        • Spiritual application: represents the most basic Laws given, which are societal contemporarily
      • Pot of Manna
      • Aaron’s rod (for he was the first High Priest)
    • The Shekinah Glory of Jehovah dwelt with Israel in the Tabernacle
      • Spiritual application: God dwells with His People in the Tabernacle within us now!

Aaron

Aaron was the first High Priest. Aaron was just one of the few, it seems, who went up with Moses to the mountain of God, and was also entrusted with the leadership of Israel while Moses was absent. Though a weak leader who built an idol as a visibly symbol of the invisible God, Moses challenged those that were faithful to fight against such idolatry. God had told Moses that Aaron and his sons were to be the priests, with Aaron as High Priest (as we see in Exodus 28:1-4).

Leviticus book unraveling

List of offering types

  • The Burnt Offering, which we see in Leviticus 1:1-17. This varied according to the ability of the offerer, for if the offerer was wealthy, he must bring an offering for his flock. If he was poor, a fowl would be brought, such as a turtle dove or young pigeon. Only clean animals or fowl could be offered. Only domesticated animals could be used, and it should be something offered that could be worth something of value, which was more or less endeared by the offerer. Israelites were taught to only offer the best or spotless ones, which would typify the “Spotless” Son of God. When an offerer would slay their offering, the Priest would catch the streaming blood in a basin and sprinkle it around the Altar of Burnt Offering. The animal was then skinned and the skin became the property of the Priest, which would be compensation for his labor. The body is finally cut into pieces and prepared, then arranged on the Altar and completely consumed with fire.
  • The Meat Offering (or “meal offering”), which involved several things, was a meaning of all kinds of food (not just meat). It was of three kinds: unbaked flour, ground very fine; baked loaves or cakes, made in a pan; and green ears of corn, parched or roasted. Corn here is meant to be wheat, as we see in Scripture. The meal offering was to be brought to the officiating Priest, who would take a handful of it and throw it upon the sacrifice upon the Altar of Burnt Offering for it was never offered by itself – but rather, always in connection with a Burnt Sacrifice. The remainder of a meal offering was to be eaten by the Priests, and the offerer did not eat any of it. Ingredients were used in preparation prior to its offering, and had specific rules applied to each ingredient.
  • The Peace Offering was similar to the Burnt Offering, but a male or female could be offered and must be without blemish. The offerer was to bring the offering, whether a bullock, lamb, or goat into the Court of the Tabernacle to the Altar of Burnt Offering. Before the Lord, he laid his hand on his head and then killed the animal. The officiating priest would catch the blood in a basin and sprinkle it around the Altar. The animal was opened up and parts of it were burnt on the Altar, to which the remainder was eaten by the Priests, the offerer, and their family and friends. The “breast” was “waved” to and fro before the Lord and then given to the High Priest and his sons. The “right shoulder” would be heaved up and down before the Lord, and then given to the officiating priest with the remainder belonging to the offerer. Two kinds of peace offering was “offering of thanksgiving,” and “offering in fulfillment of a vow.” The flesh of the “peace offering of thanksgiving” was to be eaten the same day it was offered, and the flesh of the other could be kept over until the next day (by the third day it would be corrupt and should be burnt). It had to remain clean or it couldn’t be eaten. This was offered for the reason of “reconciliation” to show that the offerer had been “reconciled to God.”
  • The Sin Offering, which was typically done on a compulsory basis, and was for “sins committed,” and there was no sweet savor in them. Once a year, on the “Day of Atonement,” the High Priest for his own sin and the sin of the people made Atonement. This was for four different classes of people, which were, the Anointed Priest who sinned, the congregation, a ruler, or a commoner. There were different ways to atone for each specific person’s sins,, and instructions were given on what to do with the blood and the body of the sin offering. This was done in two distinguishing features: the taking of the “blood into the Tabernacle,” and sprinkling it before the “veil,” and also the carrying of the “body outside the camp.”
  • The Trespass Offering, which is different from the sin offering, involved repentance for sins against people rather than what it would be for the sin offering when sins are made against God. The offerer would bring a “Trespass Offering” if he “overheard swearing, but kept quiet;” “touched any unclean thing;” “sinned ignorantly in the things of the Lord;” “lied to his neighbor;” “found and kept lost property and lied about it;” etc. There were three kinds of offerings, which again were according to his ability. If his trespass was against “Holy Things,” or against the “property of his neighbor,” he was to make “restitution” and add thereto one-fifth of the value in “silver money.” Therefore, one should say, “If I have done anything that has caused injury to someone, then I should seek to repent, and where necessary, make “restitution.”

The Burnt Offering was a type of Christ, which we see in Ephesians 5:2, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” The exhibition of the “surrender of Christ to God,” was a “whole burnt offering.” On the “Altar of the Cross,” Christ was our burnt offering. Jesus became the burnt offering, which was in total submission to the Father’s Will.

We not only “consecrate our bodies as a living sacrifice to God,” but we also, “consecrate the fruit of our toil.” This could be a picture of tithe as well. The idea was that the Meat Offering be offered with the Burnt Offering, because they are similar – Burnt Offering representing, “consecration of the body of the offerer,” and the Meat Offering representing, “fruit of a man’s labor.”

Christ is our “peace offering” – to which, we are reconciled to God by Him! He is the One to whom we are to feast. Additionally, this “Peace Offering” had to do with the fulfillment in the “Lord’s Supper,” where we feast before the Lord by faith, and partake of His broken body and shed blood as a celebration.

The reason for the “Trespass Offering” was to make restitution if one has done anything wrong that has caused injury to anyone.

More on Feasts and Seasons

God appointed “feasts and seasons” for the Israelites to constantly remind them they were His Holy People. The “Feasts” are prophetical and are a “foreshadowing” of future events. These events are “a shadow of things to come.” Parts of these future events have been fulfilled, but there is still more to be revealed and fulfilled. The several names the feasts are known by are festivals, sacrifice seasons and feasts.

  • The Passover Feast, which was a memorial of the redemption and deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. It was to them the “beginning of months,” and their birthday as a nation. There were special instructions for sacrifices and memorials. The Passover was to be a memorial and it should be as a feast through their generations, as an ordinance, forever. The “Passover Lamb” involved was intended as a “type of Jesus,” the “Lamb of God.” The shedding of Jesus’ blood on Calvary and our applying it to our hearts by faith, has the same effect upon us. When we apply the blood of Jesus by faith upon our life, we are sheltered from an eternity without God, a spiritual death. The moment one accepts Jesus as savior, he is “born again,” and New Life begins, eternal damnation has been avoided, and “Christ our Passover” is in effect of our life. He sacrificed Himself for us.
  • The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the day after Passover and continued for seven days. As the Passover is a type of the “death of Christ,” so the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a type of the “walk” of the Believer. There should be no interval between the salvation of a soul and its entrance into a holy life and walk with Jesus Christ. The “Seven Days” point to the whole course of the Believer’s life after conversion. Leaven is also a type of evil in Scripture, and this is why this “Feast” was to be kept with “Unleavened” bread. The typology of this was that when we are saved by the shed blood of Jesus, we enter into salvation and He becomes the Bread of Life to us. We should then “walk” in the newness of life, cleansing ourselves from the “leaven” of worldliness and seeking to walk in holiness before the Lord. Saints that refuse to clean their life and walk in righteousness allow “leaven” in their vessel, and left unmaintained, the whole vessel will spoil.
  • The Feast of Firstfruits was shortly after, celebrated on the 16th day, and this couldn’t be done until after the children of Israel had entered Canaan; therefore, it was not observed during the wilderness wanderings. There were instructions for the offering. The typology of it was that the Feast of Firstfruits were a type and foreshadow of the resurrection of Christ, for He arose on the “morning after the Sabbath,” to which, His resurrection is spoken of by Paul as the “first fruits” of the resurrection of the dead. As the “Corn of Wheat” falls into the ground, Jesus was buried in the tomb and His resurrection was the “Firstfruits” of the harvest of those will be Christ’s at His coming. When the Priest, on the day of Christ’s resurrection, waved the sheaf of “Firstfruits” in the temple, it was before a “rent veil.” It was just an empty form, for the “substance” had come and the shadow had passed away. The empty tomb of Joseph proclaimed that the “Great Firstfruits Sheaf” had been reaped and waved in the Heavenly Temple.
  • The Feast of Pentecost was fifty days after the “Feast of Firstfruits,” which a new meat offering was to be offered before the Lord. It must be of the grain from the “new” harvest. The grain was to be ground and made into flour, and from that, two loaves were baked with leaven. They represent the two classes of people that were to form the Church: the Jews and Gentiles. There were other offerings as well. It had its fulfillment on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, to which the Lord’s Disciples were baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit.
  • The Feast of Trumpets was observed on a Sabbath Day at the time of the New Moon, and brought in the Jewish New Year. It ushered in with the blowing of “trumpets.” First, the Church is to be caught up-out, and second, Israel is to be gathered back to their own land. This is the event that happens toward the “Seven Trumpets” that sound in the Book of Revelation. The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the feasts, and is observed at the end of the harvest, and was to continue for seven days. The people were to dwell in “booths” made of the branches of palm trees and willows from the brook. This was to remind them that God brought them out of the bondage of Egypt. This typifies the “Sabbatical Rest” of the “Millennial Age, or the 1000 years,” which is in relation to the other 6,000 years of the world’s workday in history.

Consecration of the Priests

This involved preparation before the service that they are to be made holy. Before placing the sanctuary in service, the priests (Aaron and his sons) had to be ready. It represents the preparation of Christ as our High Priest in heaven. The ceremony would symbolize the various experiences Jesus would have to prepare Him. They are carried out in Leviticus 8-9. The Altar was then built before the anointing oil was to be poured, which represents the anointing of the Messiah. Aaron was prepared to serve as representative of the Messiah. Christ, as we see it, was anointed at His baptism at the beginning of His ministry, and later baptized with the baptism of death to prepare Him for ministry in the holy place (in Heaven). The sons are then brought in and coats are put upon them, gird with girdles, and bonnets placed on them. This is symbolic of Christ wearing the glorious robe, especially at His coming. After this, they must be anointed. The blessing shall be bestowed forevermore.

They are to make an offering upon the Altar, which were two lambs of the first year continually. This is usually called the morning and evening offerings, to which, they atone for unconscious human faults. They are to also dwell among the children of Israel, for God promised to be with His People. The sanctuary with the Tabernacle was in the center of the camp in the wilderness, to which, God dwells with us in the new earth.

Religious laws given

Laws were given for when to come into the Holy Place, to which, Aaron shall not come at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. In addition, laws concerning offerings for Priests, that Aaron comes into the holy place with a young bullock for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

After that, it detailed on the High Priest’s attire, which was to be a holy linen coat, linen breeches upon his flesh, girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre. He is to wash his flesh in water, and then put them on. Law on the scapegoat is seen here, when the end of the reconciling is done in the holy place, a live goat shall be brought, to which, Aaron shall lay both of his hands upon the head of the goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel – to which, the goat bears all of the iniquities, and placing him into in a wilderness (land not inhabited).

We also see that the escort of the scapegoat, which must be cleansed…he that let go of the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and afterward come into the camp. The priests must also be cleansed whoever burns the sin offerings, to which means washing of the clothes and bathing, and then he shall come into the camp. Lastly, we see the date given for annual “Great Day of Atonement.” It was to be on the tenth day of the seventh month, which is similar to our third of October, to which instructions are given as well.

Book of Numbers

The Book of Numbers records for us the failures of Israel – to which, it begins with and ends with failures, but a merciful God is always present. The name of the book came from numbering the people (as in a census). There were two numbers of Israel – one at Mt. Sinai in chapter 1, and one in Moab in chapter 26. We also see the recording of the completion of the Tabernacle, which is a milestone in Israelite history.

The three dominate messages expressed include: we are saved to serve, which involves in Genesis that man was ruined, in Exodus he was redeemed, in Leviticus he was taught to worship, and now in Numbers he is learning to serve. Next, order is required by God and indispensable, to which, order must be seen and is imperative to your service before the Lord and walk before God. God set in order the tribes, families, priestly arrangements, and each of their allotted positions and assignments. Last, is to beware of unbelief for the price of unbelief is great. God will protect His Purposes and His Will will be done, no matter if people believe it will be or not. He is sovereign and will have His Will be done on Earth.

Around one year after they arrived at Mount Sinai, Judah led them in the journey to Canaan. After a stop in Kadesh, as we see in chapter 13, they refused to enter into Canaan. They wanted a new leader and to go back to Egypt (why go back to bondage?), because they were rebelling God. God wanted, once again, to destroy Israel and recreate it, but Moses pleaded once again with God not to do so, but to be merciful and forgive them. Moses’ prayer once again was answered, but God didn’t ignore the rebellion. God punished them, only for them to rebel again. So, God willed for them to remain in the wilderness for the next forty years. Still in blunt rebellion, the people were stubborn, and lost a battle they could not win because they refused God’s help.

In chapter 15, lessons learned in Kadesh were outlined for the people, which involved different regulations, especially for animal sacrifices, as well as dealing with sin. Later, more laws were revealed about cleansing, especially in cleansing rituals for animals. Uncleanness would spread to anyone or anything that the unclean person touched. Therefore, the cleansing ritual was highly important, especially symbolically for sin and death keeping people from God’s presence. Next, we read about the small journey from Kadesh to Moab, as Moses decided to use this route for Israel’s entrance into Canaan. The Israelites set up camp at Moab, east of the Jordan, which was opposite of Jericho.

Balak and Balaam

Israel being camped in the Plains of Moab, Balak, the King of the Moabites, becomes fearful of the Israelites because he had heard of the war with the Amorites. King Balak sent messengers to look for Balam. Balaam was a prophet, therefore, King Balak wanted Balaam to come and pronounce a curse upon the Israelites. However, Balaam refused, therefore, the King sent messengers again and promised him promotion and honor if Balaam would come and curse Israel.

At first, Balaam said he’s only do what the Lord said, but he weakened and went with Balak’s messengers. God was angry, therefore, an angel stopped him along the way. The angel could not get Balaam’s attention, so the ass talked to Balaam after he ran into the wall and hurt Balaam’s foot. Balaam continued on to meet Balak the King, but all he could do was “bless” Israel. Each time he attempted to “curse” Israel, it came forth as a blessing. After several attempts, Balak became angry and told him to leave, and then Balaam was later killed in a battle between Israel and Midian. Balaam, overall, didn’t leave, until he had given some “evil” advice, to which, he told the King to throw a great party and seduce Israel to commit immorality. Therefore, the King follows his advice, so the Moabites seduced many Israelites into immorality and idolatry, which brought judgment once again upon God’s People.

New Generation

After the plague, the Lord spoke unto Moses and to Eleazar, the son of Aaron, and told them to number the children of Israel again. Therefore, they pursued this immediately, and therefore, we see a census conducted from twenty years old and upward. A new generation has arisen, and therefore, a new census was necessary. The Levites were numbered separately, while each tribe within Canaan was to be decided by drawing lots. Other specifics were done, and it confirmed that all the adults whose names were listed in the first census are now dead.

Now, each tribal area was divided among the families of the tribe according to its male descendants, but there were five sisters who were left with no family inheritance (no portion of land), because their father died. They also had no brothers whose inheritance they could share. Therefore, Moses brought the case before God, and received instruction that where a man didn’t have a son, his inheritance could pass to his daughters. However, if the man had no children, then it could go to his nearest relative.

Moses disallowed in to the Promised Land

God wouldn’t allow Moses to enter the Promised Land, but He would allow him to see it from a mountain on the other side of the river before his death. Moses did not feel bad when reminded of the divine judgment against him, but rather, he was concerned that Israel would have the leader of God’s choice to replace him. Therefore, God chose Joshua, to which, Joshua would not have the absolute authority that Moses had. Moses then spoke to God, but something was instituted that would allow civil leadership and religious leadership to be separated. Joshua would receive God’s instructions through the High Priest.

For God’s final dealings with Moses, it appears that it was a bit rough; however, Joshua may have been the best choice – for God knew that Israel under Joshua would conquer Canaan. It proves that the object of this situation is no matter whom you are, if you disobey God or doubt Him, you will reap the consequences. God chose Joshua to be in Moses’ place, to which, Joshua would not have the absolute authority that Moses had. Moses then spoke to God, but something was instituted that would allow civil leadership and religious leadership to be separated. Joshua would receive God’s instructions through the High Priest.

Two and a half tribes (Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh) asked permission to not cross Jordan, and rather settle in Canaan with the rest of Israel – but to settle in the good pasturelands that Israel had taken control of the east of Jordan. They would leave their families and flock east of Jordan, but their fighting men would go with the rest of Israel to conquer Canaan. When the conquest was over, they would return to settle east of Jordan. Moses agreed to this plan, and therefore, when the time arrived to cross Jordan and conquer Canaan, the two and a half tribes kept their promise.

Moses recorded the places where Israel camped during the journey from Egypt to the plains of Moab. Eleven camps were recorded between Egypt and Mt. Sinai. After a year-long camp at Sinai, the people moved through twenty camps to Ezion-geber. From there, they went to Kadesh-barnea, to which, their long wanders of around 40 years began. The book records no movements during this time, and in the fortieth year, Israel left Kadesh-barnea and went through nine camps to the plains of Moab.

Canaan was to be the place for God’s People. Moses gave boundaries of the land that Israel would occupy. Representatives were also decided/appointed to divide it among nine and a half tribes (for the other two and a half were assembled at the territory east of Jordan). Joshua and Eleazar was to lead the operation. Israel, under Joshua, had conquered Canaan. Some of Israel’s kings would spread their power over the nearby countries, to which, Israel never had sole possession of Canaan, and didn’t occupy that area marked out.

Levi, then, did not have tribal area of its own, but rather, would receive cities with surrounding pasturelands in each of the other tribes. There were 48 Levitical cities, and among those were the six cities of refuge (three west of Jordan and three on the east). These were cities where a person who murdered someone could flee for safety until he was lawfully judged.

As the book closes, we see the issue raised by the daughters of Zelophehad, to which, the decision was that where a man had died without sons, the inheritance could pass to the daughters. Leaders of Manasseh, however, feared that the land they had just one would be lost to the other tribes if the daughters of Zelophehad had married men from other tribes. To prevent troublesome things, Moses introduced a law that would ensure that, if, in such a case that a woman married, she would have to marry within her own tribe.

Deuteronomy – book of the Law

It is likely a questioned book, because it involves a repetition of the Law given at Sinai, and seems to form it into an exposition. It restates much of the commandments, but with a different emphasis. However, what was good about this was that it was made to make more sense, and it made it easier for people to review the Law. In addition, it also made the covenant much more plain, as the basic requirements and conditions were explained well. It also documents other history and Moses’ last days. Many people thought that this book was placed in there to just rewrite all of the Laws into a synthesis, so it was easier to understand, and that Moses’ last days was something tacked on, because it was missing from the previous book.

However, what qualifies it as a “Holy Writ” is that Jesus quoted from it, and it may have been a favorite of His.  It is the only book recorded that Jesus quoted from when He was tempted of the devil in the Wilderness experience. There are also numerous quotations from prophets concerning the book, as well. One of the examples of a quote from Jesus was Matthew 4:1-11 or Luke 4:1-13.

Blessing or cursing

The people of Israel had a lack of understanding overall of God and His Ways. They needed constant reminders of the covenant. Moses reminded them in the farewell address to the nation, in hopes to renew allegiance in the oath that the people swore to before they entered Canaan – for it needed to be intact for future generations. If they had decided to go back to idolatry, they would be in danger of destruction, which would come as a result for judgment of the breakage of the covenant.

No one knew what God would do in the future, and this caused people to fear God. However, they had realized that God may punish His People, but His grace would allow for forgiveness and ability to bring them back to their land if they repented of their sin. He planned to cleanse their hearts, if they were to be after Him. In response to renewed obedience from them, He would bless them with renewed prosperity. Therefore, the people had to act on being obedient, because love and obedience would lead to true life and prosperity…but, self-will and willful disobedience would lead to disaster and even death.

Twelve Tribes of Israel

  1. Reuben – though it had lost rights of the firstborn, was not to allow itself to become weak.
  2. Judah – the most powerful tribe, was not only to protect itself, but to help others when they were in trouble.
  3. Levi – the tribe to which Moses and Aaron belonged would have responsibility for religious services and teaching the Law.
  4. Benjamin – had its special blessing when the temple was built in their area later.
  5. Ephraim and Manasseh – were to inherit the best part of Canaan, and were to be the leading tribes in the northern kingdom.
  6. Zebulun and Issachar – would thrive through the profitable activity and agricultural lushness in their region.
  7. Gad – chose their land east of Jordan, but they had kept their vow to help the other tribes conquer Canaan.
  8. Dan – was a disloyal tribe, and would have a bit of trouble trying to prosper.
  9. Naphtali – would be okay with a quiet life in the bountiful hilltops around the Lake of Galilee.
  10. Asher – would live in a well-protected fruitful area that would be famous for olives and high quality oil that was produced.

The Tribe of Levi was separated to bear the Ark of the Covenant – which would be in standing before the Lord to worship and bless Him. Levi has no part or inheritance with his brethren, therefore, the Lord is his inheritance as promised. Moses had wrote the Law and delivered it to the sons of Levi, because they bore the Ark of the Covenant. They were all instructed to read the Law aloud for Israel, and learn about the Lord.

Joshua and Moses

Joshua was commissioned to be in place of Moses, and therefore, Moses handed over the leadership of Israel to Joshua. He reminded Joshua and the people that they were to have a brave commitment to the task onward, and should have faith in God – as this would guarantee victory over the Canaanites, and give them possession of the Promised Land.

After that, Moses made three different arrangements to make sure that people didn’t forget the covenant. This was helpful for Joshua, and made his job easier. It does seem, however, to be a normal thing for covenant documents to be stored in a good place, and for public readings to be done occasionally. This was definitely true for the covenant/Law.

Before Moses had died, God allowed him to climb to the peak (called Pisgah) of Mt. Nebo in the Abarim Range (which was near the Israelite camp on the plains of Moab) to view the fullness of the Promised Land that His People were soon to possess. Additionally, it appears the exact location of Moses’ grave is unknown, and Scripture says that God had buried him. At death, he was 120 years old. Scripture shows that there was not a prophet like Moses, especially whom the Lord knew face to face. His name and legacy resounded through the entire land of Israel.

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