St. Michael Academy of Eschatology
This course provides a detailed study of the first five books of the Bible. Holy Scripture is emphasized.
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Cost for this course is : $120.00
Read entire book shown in each lesson to answer the quiz questions using a short response. E-mail quiz to firstname.lastname@example.org and an 80% mastery is required.
THE PENTATEUCH by Rev. James Ross (O.T. #301)
Pray Before Study. While God uses professors and teachers as His chosen media for conveying knowledge of eternal truth and directing study, the real Teacher is the Holy Spirit, and we have our Lord's faithful promise that "When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come He will guide you into all truth." St. John 16:13.
Reading Assignment: The Holy Bible - Genesis to Deuteronomy. A General Introduction to the Bible by Drs. Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix; Unger's Bible Handbook by Dr. Merrill F. Unger (Hereinafter simply referred to as "Unger's"). Before commencing the study of the text of Holy Scripture, pp. 26-161 of Geisler & Nix should be carefully read and comprehended. Pp. 36-154 of Unger should be used as a source of reference in the study of the Pentateuch.
The Old Testament: Word 'testament' is derived from the Latin 'testamentum' meaning 'will'. But in the Bible it has a stronger meaning of 'convenated will' and refers to God's faithful promise to man - confirmed in blood sacrifices - all of which were types of Christ, the Lamb of God, Whose blood is shed for the world's redemption. The several books of the Old Testament (O.T.) were (with exception of a few verses in Daniel, Ezra and Jeremiah) originally written in Hebrew. The exceptions referred to above were in Aramaic, the common language of Palestine in the days of our Lord's earthly ministry, and undoubtedly the one, which He would ordinarily use. This fact should be remembered when you come to study the New Testament (N.T.), which was written in Greek with an Aramaic background.
The study of the O.T. is essential to sound Biblical scholarship. The reason that among average Christians today the O.T. is the most neglected part of the Bible is that while in the O.T. prominence is given to the Law. The emphasis in the N.T. is upon Grace. But a closer look at the O.T. will show that God, Who is Almighty, Holy, Righteous and Just, is also a loving Father, Who deals with His children in mercy, and promises a Redeemer. St. Paul, who knew the O.T. thoroughly, speaks of God as "The Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort." (II Corinthians 1:3).
Again, we say, a through knowledge of the O.T. is absolutely necessary - because without such knowledge, it is impossible to understand the N.T. Whenever our Lord and His apostles quoted Scripture, it was the O.T. which they were quoting. There are over 600 quotations or references to the O.T. in the N.T.
Pentateuch - meaning 'five'. These five books of Moses contain the Law (Hebrew 'Torah').
Historical Books - 12 in number: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, I & II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.
Poetical Books - 5 in number: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.
Prophetical Books: 17 in number: 5 Major - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel: 12 Minor - Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. In the Introduction to the Canon you will find an alternative arrangement of Division of the O.T. i.e. Law (Torah), Prophets (Nebi'im), Psalms and other Writings (Kethubim). This is the arrangement in the Hebrew Scriptures and the one most familiar to the Jews.
Genesis - means 'beginnings'. As the first book of the Bible it provides a brief record of events from 'the beginning' until the death of Joseph. Includes a short, but accurate account of the creation of our earth, organic life, special creation of man, the Deluge and dispersion of peoples; the Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, Joseph (His career in Egypt), Egyptian bondage; the death of Jacob (Israel), and finally of Joseph.
Important note to the Student: At this stage it would be a good thing to take time now to do a complete reading of Genesis. Also, in order to save you from being either misled or disturbed by something which you may have read elsewhere, we would like to say that while we are aware of critical arguments to the contrary, the position taken in this course of studies is in favor of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch - with the exception of the last chapter of Deuteronomy, which records the death of Moses and was probable written by Joshua or Ezra the scribe.
Chps. 1:1 - 11:32: An account of creation and the primeval state of mankind. 'the beginning' is in the dim and distant past - prehistoric. The Bible does not say 'when'; therefore it is not in error, or in conflict with modern knowledge. Geological science indicates 'the beginning' as many aeons ago. The Bible does not claim to be a scientific treaties. It is a record of God's revelation and His dealings in love and mercy with man whom He has created in His own image - that means spiritual likeness, (not physical - we must not think of God as 'super-man'). The first definite Biblical date we have is that of Abraham c. 2000 B.C. The time lapse from Gen. 1:1 to Gen. 11:26 (first mention of Abram) is much greater than from the days of Abraham to Malachi - the close of the Old Testament. This should be clearly understood now, as it will help to lay the foundation for sound scholarship.
God is Eternal: He is the Creator of all things. 'Create' in Gen. 1:1 is "bara" in Hebrew, and means 'create ex nihilo' - create out of nothing, that is - nothing tangible. The same word is used to express God's creative power in history, which man is unable to change: (cf. Exod. 34:10; Numb. 16:30; Jer. 31:22; Isa. 45:7 - 8; 48:7). So Genesis states that "in the beginning" there was creation ex nihilo; then there was restoration of order. Before organic life could appear on earth there must be a favorable environment - such as light, atmosphere, proper regulated temperature, water, and proper regulation of seasons.
The Fall and its Consequences: Adam and Eve are responsible representative human progenitors. In the whole history of man, his fall from a state of innocency is the most significant event - until it is surpassed in importance by the Incarnation of the eternal God in the Person of Jesus Christ - for the purpose of redeeming man from the consequences of that fall. As the fall of man was in the pre-historic past, it was necessary that God should reveal this, together with other facts about the 'beginning' - cf. Timothy 2:13 - 14.
Elements in the Fall: Doubt and defiance led to acts of disobedience. Man is estranged from God, and judgment is passed upon all concerned - Adam, Eve, Satan. But mercy precedes judgment in God's dealings with man - a fact that persistently asserts itself throughout the Bible. The 'seed of the woman' shall bruise the head of the serpent - cf. Gen. 3:15 and Gal. 4:4. This is the first promise of a Redeemer, and the Genesis reference is called 'the proto-evangel'. The provision of skins for clothing sets forth the truth about the shedding of blood for the remission of sins. Cain and Abel. Defiance of God leads to murder - cf. Gen. 3:21 with Heb. 11:4. Abel's blood offering was "by faith" indicating that he followed instructions he had received. Cain received the same instruction, but pride caused him to disobey. His offering, which was the result of his own work, was rejected. Impenitent - he allows his resentment to deteriorate into hatred, and finally murder. It was not fitting that the sinful, disobedient and arrogant line of Cain should be the line through which the Saviour, the "seed of the woman", could come; therefore this line must be rejected. Cain's descendant went on to build cities and develop urban life and the arts - further bolstering man's pride in his own achievements. God created a new line in Seth, a new son of Adam. We read that in the days of Seth's son, Enos, men began to "call upon the Name of the Lord." Gen.4: 25. Noah also is a descendant of Seth. Noah believed and obeyed God, and he and his family were saved from the Deluge. Gen.6: 11 - 8:19. The promise of redemption through the "seed of the woman" is renewed in Noah and his descendents. In this case, too, we see that God's mercy precedes judgment. For more than 120 years, through Noah, God warned of impending judgment upon unrepentant sinners; but men refused to heed the warnings, and only Noah and his family were saved.
The Deluge is the greatest and most universal judgment (so far!) upon mankind. The Ark, which was the instrument of their safety, typifies the Lord Jesus Christ cf. St. Luke 17:27; Heb.11:7; St. Pet. 3:20; II St. Pet. 2:5; 3:3 - 7.
Isaac: A son of promise. A year before his birth God made a solemn covenant with his father, changing his name to Abraham (father of a multitude) and also changed Sarai's name to Sarah (princess). God's covenanted blessing of Abraham may be set forth thus:
These promises reach far into the future, far beyond anything that Abraham could comprehend, in fact - down to our own time, and their full implication can be seen only in Jesus Christ, Whom St. Matthew declares is "the Son Abraham." St. Matt.1: 1;
Circumcision - Sign of the Covenant: Gen.17: 1 - 27; cf. Rom. 4:9 - 12. Abraham accepts the sign and carries out the instructions. He, and all members of his household are circumcised, and when his promised heir, Isaac, is eight days old he also is circumcised. This sign is enjoined upon all his male descendants from generation to generation.
His faith is tested and rewarded in the matter of surrendering his son and heir to God. Not knowing "how". He believed that "God would provide Himself a lamb." Gen.22: 1 - 19; cf. I Cor. 5:7; Heb. 9:26; Rev.13: 8. Abraham depends upon divine guidance in the matter of finding a wife for Isaac. Rebekah's selection, her willingness to obey, her journey of faith, and her marriage to Isaac provide us with a narrative full of rich inspiration. The covenanted promises are continued in Isaac, who leads a quiet pastoral life in Palestine, In accordance with accepted custom and legal practice in those days Abraham had other sons by his concubines. All present day Arab groups are descended from him, the most prominent being the Ismali or Hagarite (from Abraham and Hagar) and the Keturite Arabs (from Abraham and Keturah). This helps to explain the continued rivalry between all groups of Arabs and Israel today.
Esau and Jacob: Gen. 25:20 - 36:43. Though twin Esau was actually the firstborn, but Jacob was more aggressive. Esau was a man of the out-of-doors and an adventurous spirit. Jacob was a homeboy, overprotected and spoiled by his mother. As a child Esau developed no strong faith in God. He valued personal comfort more than the responsibilities of the elder son and birthright. Contrasts of character are basic to the rivalry between the two brothers. Esau further displays weakness of character, in the disregard of his parents' wishes in the choice of a wife. He married a heathen Hittite woman. His descendants are the Edomites, who were never friendly toward Israel. Today they are allied with Egypt in the United Arab Republic.
Jacob: Due to friction with his brother he was sent (by his mother) to live with his uncle Laban. Having acquired wealth by deception, and made himself generally unwelcome in his uncle's household, he returned to Canaan seeking reconciliation with his brother. His children brought trouble and sorrow upon him. Note his worship at Beth-el, and the death and burial of Rachel at Bethlehem. Gen.28: 10 - 35:21. The descendant, death and burial of Isaac. Gen.35: 22 - 36:43.
Joseph: From Gen. 37 to the end of the book the central figure is Joseph. He was the favorite son of his father Jacob (Israel), and this situation aroused his brothers' jealousy. They got rid of him by selling him as a slave to a band of Ishmaelites. These people were actually their cousins. They were nomadic descendants of Ishamael, the son of Abraham and Hagar. In Eygpt, in a career he proved himself superior to misfortune and false accusation, he rose to positions of high honor and responsibility, eventually becoming Prime Minister of Food controller of Egypt. Not forgetting, but in spite of his brothers' bad treatment of him years before, he is kind and generous toward them. He sees his younger brother, Benjamin, for the first time, and sends for his aged father Jacob (Israel). He uses his great power and influence to settle his family in a good tract of land (Goshen) in the fertile Nile delta. He made a faithful promise to his father that he would take his earthly remains and enter them in the land of Canaan, which promise he kept.
Israel, before he died, conferred patriarchal blessings upon Joseph and his sons, and delivered a solemn charge to all his family. The student should take particular note that Genesis opens with a man in a garden, and closes with a body in a coffin! Gen.50: 26.
The Shaping of a Holy Nation: Exod. 1:1 - 33:29. Exodus and Leviticus record the story of a great awakening to spiritual awareness under the leadership of Moses, who God called and specially prepared to train and lead His chosen people. Part of his preparation is seen in the fact that he, an Israelite, as a prince of Egypt was given the best education.
that the culture of the world's greatest nation (at that time) could provide. He was raised up by God centuries after the death of Israel and Joseph, and at a time when the Israelites were in bondage of slavery. Through deep spiritual insight he was able to see God's will and purpose for His people. His great God-given wisdom enabled him to articulate and transmit to his people a vision of this ideal, and help them to see the moral and spiritual significance of life as the people of God. He gave them a religious foundation on which the nation could be built. While they accepted Moses' leadership because it offered a way of escape from bondage, their constant bickering, quarreling among themselves and resentment of discipline was evidence that in the early stages they failed to realize that they were emerging into a nation. So significant is the deliverance from Egypt and preparation for nationhood that about one sixth of the Old Testament is devoted to the record.
From Slavery to the End of Training Under Moses. The student is well advised to read this whole section at one sitting. (Exod.1: 1 - 33:29). Also read very carefully the same area in Unger.
Leviticus and Numbers: Leviticus derives its name from its subject matter - the priestly code, or the duties and responsibilities of the tribe of Levi. It enlarges upon the law given in Exodus, and explains in detail ritual of worship. Leviticus is a code of holiness unto Jehovah. The book of Leviticus is often referred to by Ezekiel and it underlies much of the teaching in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Numbers derives its name from the censuses (numberings) of the people, which it records. Also it contains explanations of various
Laws - for the benefit of the younger generation, which was not around when the law was first given. An outstanding feature is the insight it provides into the strength and character of Moses as a great statesman. It reveals his patience, faithfulness and spiritual strength - as he led them from an undisciplined mob - into a well-trained and resolute people, which at last, by the power and grace of God, drew near to the borders of Moab and felt ready for a campaign of conquest. How lovingly, patiently and wisely does God lead and fashion us to fit into His purpose.
The student should pay special attention to the first and second census, and note why only 601,730 men were found physically fit to fight. Also pay attention to Moses being permitted to see, but not enter, the Promised Land. Write notes on the reason for Moses not being allowed to enter the land. Note Moses' charge to Joshua; the requests of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh to have land allotted to them on 'this side' (eastern) side of Jordan.
Moses grants the request of these three tribes - on condition that they bear their part of the invasion and conquest of the Promised Land before settling in their own inheritance.
Deuteronomy: 'Deutero' (two) records the second giving of the law - for the benefit of that generation which had grown up during the forty years wilderness wandering. The book should be carefully studied and compared with the summary of the Law in Exod.20.
The Tabernacle, Tent of Meeting - Exod.25 - 40: Israel's first sanctuary and center of worship. Its dimensions and furnishings are all typical of pure religion. Its pattern is basically that of the Temple that David desired to build and for which he gave the site and much of the material. All the symbolism of the Tabernacle points to our Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Redeemer, and to the Heavenly City - in which there will be no Temple. Rev.21: 22.
Having faithfully accomplished the work he was given to do, Moses laid down his charge and was taken to his eternal home. His burial place was not revealed. The nation, under God, was now ready.
St. Michael Academy of Eschatology
P.O. Box 7007
West Palm Beach, Florida 33405