Jan 30

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In the last article, “Bible (2),” we were looking at the Bible as a library, which has two major divisions: 1) the Old Testament and 2) the New Testament. As we face the shelves upon which all the Old Testament books are placed, it is needful that we see more divisions. Let us look at these divisions of the Old Testament books as we see them upon the shelves.
First, we see on the first shelf the five books of law; they are: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy. We shall call this the first section of the Old Testament. On the second shelf, we see the “History books,” and there are twelve such books. They are: 1) Joshua, 2) Judges, 3) Ruth, 4) First Samuel, 5) Second Samuel, 6) First Kings, 7) Second Kings, 8) First Chronicles, 9) Second Chronicles, 10) Ezra, 11) Nehemiah, and 12) Esther. On the third shelf, we find the four books of Poetry and they are: 1) Job, 2) Psalms, 3) Proverbs, and 4) Ecclesiastes. On the fourth and final shelf, we see another division! It is necessary to understand that on the fourth shelf there is another major division; and we see the words, “The Prophets,” but we see that “The Prophets” are divided into two divisions, which are: 1) The Major Prophets and 2) The Minor Prophets. Under the words “Major Prophets” we see five books and they are: 1) Isaiah, 2) Jeremiah, 3) Lamentations, 4) Ezekiel and 5) Daniel. The second group of Prophets are called “The Minor Prophets and they are: 1) Hosea, 2) Joel, 3) Amos, 4) Obadiah, 5) Jonah, 6) Micah, 7) Nahum, 8) Habakkuk, 9) Zephaniah, 10) Haggai, 11) Zechariah, and 12) Malachi. With this, the Old Testament side of the shelf is complete. Seeing the Old Testament in this manner is a great help in our efforts to know the Old Testament better and the books are easier to memorize.
A few words are needed about the “The Prophets,” as many people have the idea that because the first group of the five “The Prophets” are called “The Major Prophets,” and the second group of twelve are called “The Minor Prophets,” means that “The Major Prophets” are more important than “The Minor Prophets” but this is not the case at all! The reason for the words “Major” and “Minor” has to do with the length of the books. The “major” three thoughts of the Old Testament books are these: 1) the first sin, 2) the great flood, 3) Israel’s desire for an earthly king! In the case of the first sin, which resulted in Adam and Eve being expelled from the perfect “garden,” nevertheless, God made the first announcement of the coming savisor, here God is speaking to the Devil: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). This is called “the protoevangelium, which is a compound word of two Greek words, protos meaning “first” and “evangelion” meaning “good news” or “gospel.” The world of that time would; and, the world of Moses’ time would also wait, for the coming savior!
Throughout the Old Testament, the world waited for he who would save them. The inspired writers of the Old Testament would continue to give hope to these people by the prophets. Here I give just one such, as Isaiah wrote: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). We know that these words refer to the coming savior, as Matthew quotes them and applies it to the birth of Jesus; as he wrote: “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matt. 1:22-23). Then, as the Old Testament comes to its conclusion, God was still giving Israel hope of the coming savior, as Malachi wrote: “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Mal. 4:4-5). The “Elijah” of this passage refers to John the one who baptized! We know this because of Jesus’ words as He, John and Peter were in the mount called “the mount of transfiguration;” when Jesus said unto them: “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist” (Matt. 17:11-13).
With this we bring an end of this third article in this series on the Bible. We have traveled from Genesis through Malachi, the Old Testament!

Frank R. Williams

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