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A Christian Surveyof theOld Testament

AChristian Surveyof theOLD TESTAMENT

A Christian Survey ofthe O LD T ESTAMENTContentsPart One Theocratic Beginnings1 Introduction . 72 Five Books of Moses . 243 First Theocracy Genesis: Creation, Fall, Flood . 284 Promise of the New Theocracy Genesis: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 44Part Two Theocratic Establishment5 Covenant People Delivered Exodus, Part One. 546 Covenant Nation Organized Exodus, Part Two . 647 Covenant Nation’s Laws Leviticus . 768 Covenant Nation Disciplined Numbers . 919 Covenant Nation Consecrated Deuteronomy . 10010 Covenant Nation’s Land Joshua . 108Part Three Theocratic Development11 Covenant Nation Forsakes Jehovah Judges . 12012 Covenant Nation’s Faithful Minority Ruth . 13013 Covenant Nation’s Demands 1 Samuel, Part One . 13314 Covenant Nation’s Selfish King 1 Samuel, Part Two . 13915 Covenant Nation’s Theocratic King 2 Samuel . 14816 Covenant Nation’s Songbook Introduction and Psalms . 15317 Covenant Nation’s Wisdom Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon . 163

18 Covenant Nation Examines Suffering Job . 172Part Four Theocratic Decline19 Covenant Nation’s Time of Decision Kings, Part One . 17820 Covenant Nation’s Time of Division Kings, Part Two . 18521 Covenant Nation’s Time of Disintegration Kings, Part Three . 19822 Covenant Nation’s Lesson from Its History Chronicles. 20323 God’s Voice to His Covenant Nation The Prophets . 20724 God’s Prediction of His People’s Future Joel . 21225 God’s Denunciation of Israel’s Sins Amos . 21726 God’s Indictment of His Unfaithful People Hosea . 22127 God’s Promise of Judah’s Deliverance Isaiah, Part One . 22728 God’s Promise of Messianic Salvation Isaiah, Part Two . 23629 God’s Promise of Mercy after Judgment Micah . 24230 God’s Picture of the Universal Savior Jonah . 24631 God’s Guarantee of Covenant Faithfulness Obadiah . 25032 God’s Warning from Nineveh’s Destruction Nahum. 25233 God’s Warning of Coming Wrath Zephaniah . 25534 God’s Explanation of Coming Punishment Habakkuk. 25835 God’s Punishment of Sinful Judah Jeremiah . 26236 Covenant Nation Mourns Its Destruction Lamentations. 27337 God’s Assurance of Blessing after Punishment Ezekiel . 276Part Five Theocratic Transition38 Covenant People under Gentile Dominion Daniel . 28639 Covenant People under Divine Protection Esther . 298

40 Covenant People Return to Their Land Ezra–Nehemiah . 30341 God’s Call to Faithful Service Haggai . 31442 God’s Promise of Future Glory Zechariah . 31843 God’s Demand for Full Repentance Malachi . 323Prophecies of the Messiah and Fulfillments . 332References. 333

The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed.—Augustine (354-430)God in the gospel brings forward nothing but what the Law contains.—John Calvin (1509-1564)1The Old Testament may be likened to a chamber richly furnishedbut dimly lighted; the introduction of light brings into it nothing whichwas not in it before; but it brings out into clearer view much of what isin it but was only dimly or even not at all perceived before Thus theOld Testament revelation is not corrected by the fuller revelationwhich follows it, but only perfected, extended, and enlarged.—B. B. Warfield (1851-1921)For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written forour learning, that we through patience and comfortof the scriptures might have hope.Romans 15:4Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternallife: and they are they which testify of me.John 5:39For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: forhe wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings,how shall ye believe my words?John 5:46-47If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will theybe persuaded, though one rose from the dead.Luke 16:31Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples:and they are written for our admonition.1 Corinthians 10:11All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses,and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.Luke 24:44For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holymen of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.2 Peter 1:211Commentaries of Calvin, 46 vols. (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society; 1843-55); reprinted

Most of the text used in the Old Testament Survey is from The Kingdom of God by Francis Breisch, Jr., published byChristian Schools International, ISBN 0-87463-207-2.Christian Schools International3350 East Paris Ave., SEGrand Rapids, Michigan 49518-8709 USA Copyright 1958: Original main text, Christian Schools International. All rights reserved. Used by permission.The text or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission fromChristian Schools International. Copyright 1995, 1997: Tabernacle and Temple diagrams, SON Light Publishers; Fort Smith, Arkansas. Allrights reserved. Used by permission.All maps are created with Bible Mapper (www.biblemapper.com). Copyright 2016: Expanded text and annotations, Chapel Library. Printed in the USA. The original text hasbeen modified. Chapel Library does not necessarily agree with all the doctrinal positions of the authors it publishes.All Scripture quotations are from the King James Version. Additional insights also have been added, derived from- student notes from the Old Testament Survey course taught by Mr. Art Nuernberg atEI School of Biblical Training, www.eibibleschool.org, in Greenville, SC USA.- book introductions from the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible, published by Reformation HeritageBooks, www.heritagebooks.org, Grand Rapids, Michigan.Chapel Library sends Christ-centered materials from prior centuries worldwide without charge, relying entirely upon God’s faithfulness. We therefore do not solicit donations, but we gratefully receive support from those who freelydesire to give.Worldwide, please download this and other material without charge from our website, or contact the internationaldistributor as listed there for your country. Hundreds of books, booklets, and eBooks are available atwww.ChapelLibrary.org. See The New Covenant in Christ: A Survey of the New Testament by Stanford E. Murrell.In North America, for additional printed copies of A Christian Survey of the Old Testament and other Christ-centeredmaterials from prior centuries, please contactCHAPEL LIBRARY2603 West Wright StreetPensacola, Florida 32505 USAPhone: (850) 438-6666 Fax: (850) 438-0227chapel@mountzion.org www.ChapelLibrary.orgA series of study guides are available for the Old Testament Survey. For information about Bible study materials(often based on texts from prior centuries), please contactMOUNT ZION BIBLE INSTITUTE2603 West Wright StreetPensacola, Florida 32505 USAPhone: (850) 438-1037 Fax: (850) 438-0227school@mountzion.org www.ChapelLibrary.orgMZBI courses may be downloaded worldwide without charge fromwww.ChapelLibrary.orgin 22 vols. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker; 1979), Jeremiah 31:31-32.

A Christian Survey ofthe O LD T ESTAMENTPART ONETHEOCRATIC BEGINNINGS1IntroductionAll scripture is given by inspiration of God, and isprofitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,for instruction in righteousness.2 Timothy 3:16This book is intended to be a guide to personal study of the Old Testament.That study covers a great deal of material, which will not all be the same. There isin the Old Testament a great variety of subject matter; this will help to make ourstudy interesting. But before we turn to this variety, it is necessary to notice somefacts that will provide unity for our study. In order to do justice to our study ofthe parts of the Old Testament, we must first observe the Old Testament as awhole.

8A SURVEY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT1. The Old Testament Is God’s WordA. From GodIt is impossible to study the Old Testament fairly and honestly without firstrecognizing and acknowledging one basic fact: the Old Testament is God’s revelation to men. It is not the entire revelation of God, but all of the Old Testament isGod’s Word. Unless we start with this fact, our study of the Old Testament isdoomed to failure. Some people claim that this is a human idea, imposed uponthe Old Testament by men. It is not. It is found in the Old Testament. It is alsofound in the New Testament. The Bible testifies clearly to its divine authorship. 2It is impossible to present all the evidence to support this statement. Nor is itnecessary for us to do so. Let us simply notice that over four hundred times theOld Testament says about its message: “Thus saith the LORD ” And notice whatthe New Testament says about the Old Testament: “For the prophecy came not inold time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by theHoly Ghost” (2Pe 1:21). In other words, the words of God declare that they areGod’s Word, and for Christians that is enough.The Westminster Confession of Faith 3 presents this thought beautifully. Afterlisting some of the “incomparable excellencies” of the Scripture that move us toesteem it highly, it adds: “our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth,and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearingwitness by, and with, the Word in our hearts.” God the Holy Spirit, Who dwells inthe hearts of His people, teaches us that the Bible is His revelation to us. Beyondthis we need no proof.B. InspiredWhile we affirm that the Bible is God’s Word, we do not maintain that Godwrote it directly. No hand from heaven wrote the Old Testament, as it did when ittraced the message of doom on Belshazzar’s wall (Dan 5:5). God used men towrite the books of the Old Testament. This fact poses a question: How can bookswritten by men be God’s Word? The Bible gives its own answer: by means of inspiration. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2Ti 3:16). By “inspi23For more about the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, see The Infallible Word byC. H. Spurgeon and The Doctrine of Revelation by A. W. Pink, and the two courses basedupon these: The Infallible Word of God (course IWG) and The Divinely Inspired Word (DW1and DW2); all available from CHAPEL LIBRARY.Westminster Confession of Faith – one of the great confessions of the Christian faith, produced in 1645-1646 by an assembly of 121 theologians appointed by the “Puritan” LongParliament to make proposals for reforming the Church of England.

1. Introduction9ration,” we mean that God guided the authors of the Old Testament books so thatthey wrote what He wanted them to write. God did this in a wonderful way. He didnot ignore the personalities of the authors. He did not force them all to use thesame style. He used them as they were, or perhaps we should say, as He preparedthem for their work. They received His words and wrote them—each in his ownstyle, each with his own vocabulary, each according to his own education. Butwhat they wrote was not their own; it was God’s. The words they used were thewords chosen by God, and the thoughts they expressed were God’s revelation tomen.We cannot understand precisely how this took place. That is not strange: thereare many things in life that we accept without understanding them. Why shouldwe be surprised that we cannot understand everything about such a wonderfuland mysterious subject as God’s inspiration of His Word? As Christians, we musthumbly confess that we cannot fathom most of the ways of God (Isa 55:9). We donot understand in order that we may believe; we believe in order to understand.And when we believe that God inspired the writers of the Old Testament, the dooris opened for us to understand what He has written.C. Infallible1. Incapable of ErrorBy our recognition that the Old Testament is God’s inspired Word, severalfacts about that Word are brought to our attention. We then recognize that theOld Testament is infallible. This simply means that there are no errors in it, andmore: that it is not capable of error. It does not mean that the writers of the OldTestament knew everything; there were many things they did not know. But whenthey wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they were kept from any error. After all, they wrote God’s words; and it is impossible for God to make an error. Man may not always know what is true, but God always does: He isomniscient, He knows everything. Whether it be history or science or a basictruth of redemption, God knows it. Moreover, it is impossible for God to lie. HeHimself tells us that (Ti 1:2). He is altogether holy, of purer eyes than to look upon iniquity. 4 Thus it is impossible that there should be any errors in the Old Testament. Let us never forget what Jesus said about it: “thy word is truth” (Joh17:17). If Jesus proclaimed the Bible to be true and yet it had errors, we could nottrust Jesus or the Bible. But when Jesus proclaims it to be true and it is in facttrue, then both Jesus and the Bible are reliable, trustworthy, and demand our attention.4iniquity – wickedness.

10A SURVEY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT2. ScienceWe should realize that not everyone believes that the Old Testament is infallible. Unbelievers often take great pleasure in pointing out places where they thinkthe Bible is wrong. Even some people in Christian churches are influenced bysuch men, and give up their belief in the infallibility of Scripture. In this scientificage of ours, we are told that belief in infallibility is impossible. But this is simplynot true: science has never proven the Bible to be wrong. On the contrary, newdiscoveries often have shown that the Bible is right and its critics are wrong.The science of archaeology, which deals with the remains of past civilizations,studies the Bible more directly than any other science—and archaeology supportsthe Bible. A few examples, chosen from many, will show that this is so. For manyyears scoffers laughed at the story told in Exodus 5 about the Israelites makingbricks without straw. Impossible, they said. The ancient peoples always needed abinding material for their bricks. But excavations made at the Egyptian city of Pithom, which was built by the Israelites (Exo 1:11), proved otherwise. In thesebuildings, the lower courses of brick were made with good chopped straw. Themiddle courses were made with less straw, and much of that was stubble. The upper courses were made without any straw. This agrees perfectly with the biblicalstory.A second example comes from Jericho. Although sceptics have denied that thewalls of Jericho could fall miraculously as pictured in Joshua 6, excavations at thesite of ancient Jericho showed that this is precisely what happened. There is noevidence of the walls being battered in. “The bricks that composed the east walllie as a streak down the eastern slope gradually getting thinner, with conspicuoustraces of a general fire. Thus the outer wall fell outwards, and down the hillside,quite flat, making it possible for the invaders to enter ‘every man straight beforehim’ (Jos 6:5, 20).” 5 Time after time the critics of the Bible have been silenced bythe findings of archaeology.Thus we see that science attests to the infallibility of the Bible. But notice this:science does not prove that the Bible is infallible. The infallibility of the Bible isproved by its divine authorship. It needs no human proof. Science can show thatparticular statements of the Bible are true, but it can never provide an adequatefoundation for our belief in an infallible Bible. Only God can do that.3. Predictive ProphecyI have declared the former things from the beginning I did themsuddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou artobstinate I have even from the beginning declared it to thee;5Halley, H. H., Bible Handbook (Chicago, Illinois: Henry H. Halley; 1955).

1. Introduction11before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldestsay, Mine idol hath done them.—Isaiah 48:3-5God used a significant tool in the creation of His infallible Word. He used thistool because He wants us to know beyond any doubt that His Word is from Godand is infallible. That tool is “predictive prophecy.” As we shall see, prophecy refers to the proclaiming of God’s truth to man. These proclaimed truths often involve God’s holiness, man’s sin, and his need to repent and return to God. ButGod also proclaimed another category of truth: predictive prophecy, or proclaiming beforehand what will happen in the future. The Bible is unique among the holy books of the world in its focus on the fulfilment of predictive prophecy. Mostimportantly, the Bible has many, many predictions of events that actually havecome to pass in history. This is so important because it also establishes the Bibleas coming from God. No one but God knows the future; He knows it because Hehas designed it and ordained it. He holds it all in His hands. God put predictiveprophecies in the Bible so that we would know that the Bible comes from God.In order to guard against false prophets who would mislead His people, Godcommanded that they be put to death (Deu 18:22). But how are people to distinguish between true and false prophets? First: does what they say match the Word ofGod? If not, the Word of God remains true, and the prophet is false. Second, if theypredict a future event and the event does not come to pass, they are clearly a falseprophet. Today we do not inflict the death penalty upon false teachers, but God’speople should be discerning and avoid them at all costs (2Pe 2:1-9).2. The Relevance of the Old TestamentA. PurposeIn our study of the Old Testament, we must never think of it as a completeunit. It is like a house that is finished on three sides. The one end is left open, because there is another room to be added. And that room is the most importantroom of the house: it is the New Testament. The entire Old Testament exists tolay a foundation for, and provide an introduction to, the New Testament. This istrue because Jesus Christ is the center of the biblical narrative. The Old Testament points forward to Him; the New Testament centers on Him. So in our studyof the Old Testament, we must always have our eyes to the future, looking aheadfor the rising of the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2).The whole of God’s Word is the revelation of His eternal purpose of redemption through His only begotten Son. And the Old Testament is a massive part ofthat revelation bearing witness to Christ. Jesus Himself declared this: “Search thescriptures they are they which testify of me” (Joh 5:29). Likewise, after His cru-

12A SURVEY OF THE OLD TESTAMENTcifixion and resurrection, Jesus rebuked two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus for their unbelief, saying, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that theprophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself ” (Luk 24:27). Toanother group of disciples, Jesus explained, “These are the words which I spakeunto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which werewritten in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerningme” (Luk 24:44). Jesus is referring to the traditional Hebrew division of the OldTestament when He mentions the Law, prophets, and psalms. So Jesus is declaring that, from beginning to end, the Old Testament is about Him and His savingwork. The apostles affirmed the same thing. For example, when Paul addressedthe Jews of Rome, he persuaded them “concerning Jesus, both out of the law ofMoses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening” (Act 28:23). The wholeBible then, including the Old Testament, is God’s testimony about Jesus Christ.New Testament believers should study the Old Testament because the wholeBible is inspired, infallible, and all about Jesus Christ. Because this is true, a caution is appropriate here: our reason for taking a survey such as this should notsimply be a matter of wanting to know Scripture better. If this is the case, we willtruly miss the point. Our heart’s desire should be to know God: “And this is lifeeternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whomthou hast sent” (Joh 17:3). We will know God by knowing and believing His Word;and in knowing Him, we will know ourselves as we really are and our need ofHim. May the Lord reveal Himself to us as we survey the Old Testament.B. ImportanceWhen we see that the Bible is God’s Word, we also recognize that the Old Testament is authoritative. It speaks with all the authority of God Himself. We whoare God’s creatures, and especially we who are His children, must obey His Word.What He says we must believe; what He commands we must do. We can tolerateneither doubt nor disobedience in ourselves. And this is so simply because it isGod Who speaks to us in the Old Testament. If the Old Testament contained theideas of men about God, we would be free to accept or reject their thoughts. Butsince it is God Who speaks, we have no choice but to believe and to obey—or elsewe are in rebellion against Him.Since the Old Testament is part of God’s Word, it is applicable to our lives. If itwere merely a human account of the religious experiences of the ancient Jews,this would not be true. We might find it interesting, but insist that it was of novalue to us. Changing times and differing cultures might make their examplenearly worthless to us. But the Old Testament is God’s Word, and God’s Word

1. Introduction13does not change. His holiness and righteousness, His loving-kindness and mercy,His wisdom and grace are the same today as they were thousands of years ago.Therefore we can discover in the pages of the Old Testament directions as to howwe may live holy lives and please God. In fact, Paul tells us that the things whichhappened to the Israelites were recorded for our benefit (Rom 15:4). Since this istrue, our study of the Old Testament must be practical. We must continually askourselves how these things apply to us. Therefore, we must approach our study ofthe Old Testament in a spirit of prayer, asking God to reveal to us His will as it iscontained in His inspired Word.God presents important lessons to us by telling isolated stories from the livesof His people. The Hebrew way of thinking is not in deductive logic like theGreeks, but in stories that illustrate universal principles of God’s truth. The principles are then emphasized through more stories, which repeat the same principles for emphasis.In preparation for our study, then, three things are necessary for a proper understanding of God’s Word: the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit, prayer, anda teachable heart. So before you begin this survey, pray that the Author of Scripture, God the Holy Spirit, will teach you. And as you study, if you discover that“what you think” conflicts with the Bible, throw out what you think and believeGod’s Word!—for the Bible says, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of yourmind” (Rom 12:2). This will be a significant step toward applying God’s truth toyour life and obtaining the peace, joy, and eternal life that only Jesus Christ cangive.3. The Composition of the Old TestamentA. AuthorsWe have seen that it is impossible properly to understand the Old Testamentwithout taking into account its divine origin and its infallible character. We mustalso recognize that it is impossible properly to understand the Old Testament unless we have some knowledge of its historical background. The Old Testament is acollection of thirty-nine books. Two of these books, Psalms and Proverbs, arethemselves collections, containing the writings of various authors. So we can seethat God used many men to write the Old Testament. In addition, He used menwho lived at various times in the history of Israel. The earliest books of the OldTestament were probably written about 1500 B.C., and the last book was not written until about 400 B.C. So the writing of the Old Testament covers a period of athousand years or more. In addition, they were written in various parts of theMiddle East. Most of them originated in Palestine, but some came from Mesopo-

14A SURVEY OF THE OLD TESTAMENTtamia (modern Iraq), and some from Egypt or the Sinai Peninsula. Finally, theauthors came from dramatically different backgrounds: shepherds, farmers, noblemen, and kings.All of these factors point to the great diversity that is present in the books ofthe Old Testament. Yet, in spite of all these differences, there is one consistentmessage about who God is, what He is like, and His plan for redemption from sin.This is ensured by God the Holy Spirit inspiring each of the authors. In addition,there is one factor that links all the books and their authors together: all theseauthors were members of God’s chosen people. All these books originated withinthe framework of the covenant nation. And the covenant nation was a divinelyconstituted organization. It was the Church 6 of God in the Old Testament.“Though the Bible has in it 66 books, written by 40 different authors over aperiod of 1,600 years, covering 4,000 years of history and so many generations ofthe world, relating to widely different states of society, containing such a varietyof matter upon so many different subjects, and abounding in supernatural incidents—yet it agrees in all its parts, which becomes increasingly evident the moreclosely it is examined. Their consistency without collusion is too uniform to beaccidental, and too incidental to have been mutually planned.” 7 The whole Bible,therefore, must be the divinely inspired Word of God.B. The Collection of the BooksThe writers of the Old Testament recorded God’s revelation as He had given itto them. As these books appeared, God’s people recognized that they were God’sWord, used them as such, and gradually gathered them into a collection. This collection is known as the Jewish canon (a “canon” is simply a list, in this case a listof inspired books). The Jewish canon is exa

1. The Old Testament Is God’s Word A. From God It is impossible to study the Old Testament fairly and honestly without first recognizing and acknowledging one basic fact: the Old Testament is God’s revela-tion to men. It is not the entire revelation of God, but all of the Old Testament is God’s Word.

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