The Bible is a book that we have containing historical events described in the Old Testament that we as Christians can use for many purposes in regards to our walk with Christ. The Torah, also known as the “Pentateuch” include the first five books of the Old Testament. As a believer I have confidence in knowing that the Bible is the highest authority and it is God disclosing Himself to man. The Church did not create the canon (officially accepted list of books) and it did not get to decide what was defined as Scriptures or the Word of God (Mcdowell, 2006). We need to remember that when we recognize the Bible as canonized, the church “discovers” it, not “determines” it (Mcdowell, 2006). The Word of God is authority and we as believers are subject to it!
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretations. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21
Anyways, throughout the Old Testament (in the Pentateuch) we see the relationship between God and His people, the Israelites. “The stories of Israel include the stories of the ancestors of that nation, their establishment as people by God, the rules and regulations established by God for Israel’s faith and life in the world, and the story of their journey into the land of Canaan. Except for Genesis 1-11, these books cover the history of Israel from about 1800 B.C. to 1240 B.C.” (Varughese, 2003). Today I will be discussing the relationship these 5 books have to the origin, intended purpose, and bearing on the relationship between God and Israel.
Origin- In regards to the origin of the relationship between God and Israel the Pentateuch describes the setting of where that takes place. God created a covenant with Abraham, which can be seen paralleled in the Scriptures of Psalms 105:9 and 1st Chronicles 16:16 (Niehaus, 2013). Abraham following the call of God was the first step in creating the basis of the relationship between God and the nation (Varughese, 2003). What I mean by basis is that God used Abraham as a “blessing” to “all people of the earth” (Genesis 12:3). Because of the blessing of Abraham, the people of Israel were prompted to obey God in faith, thus seeking His blessings.
Intended Purpose- Before we dive into this next point, I want to discuss the point that everything in the Old Testament points to Christ and reveals Him. With that being in mind, I believe the purpose of the Pentateuch is for teaching us about God and how He instructed the people of Israel to live and worship Him. We can learn so much about the character of God when we read the first five books of the Bible. I actually want to state that I agree with author John H. Sailhamer who wrote a book called The Meaning of the Pentateuch (2009). He wrote about how the text itself of the Pentateuch is more important than the history behind the text. Sailhamer too, agrees that you can see glimpses of the New Testament Gospel throughout the books, supporting the claim of pointing to Christ.
The Bearing on the Relationship between God & Israel- Throughout the first five books of the Bible we see a God who is just, merciful, and gracious. He rescued Israel from Egypt, lead them through the desert, and provided them with food and water. He provided for them even when they groaned and grumbled. Time and time again, you see Israel rebel against God and time and time again God forgives them and is gracious towards them. When they did rebel, God disciplines them accordingly because He is just. God proved Himself faithful to the nation of Israel when they obeyed his commands and His promises rings true even today.
In conclusion, I think the most important thing we can take away from the Pentateuch as believers is the acknowledgement of our sinful nature and our desperate need for God who is holy, merciful, gracious, and loving.
I love this quote found in the book, The Attributes of God-
“Grace is a provision for men who are so fallen that they cannot lift the axe of justice, so corrupt that they cannot change their own natures, so averse to God that they cannot turn to Him, so blind that they cannot see Him, so deaf that they cannot hear Him, and so dead that He Himself must open their graves and lift them into resurrection.” – G.S. Bishop.
I will leave with these verses of Scripture,
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:1-5
Alex, Varughese, ed., Discovering the Old Testament, (Beacon Hill, Kansas City, MO 2003)
Mcdowell, Josh. (2006). Evidence for Christianity. Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville TN.