THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES are variously known as the Law, the Torah (Hebrew for Law), the Law of Moses, the “five-fifths of the Law,” and the Pentateuch. The word “Pentateuch” is derived from the Greek words penta (five) and teuchos (scroll of book).
Although there is much external and internal evidence that supports the Mosaic authorship of these five books, many critics in the last two centuries have challenged this. The usual scenario is that Israel’s religion evolved through several stages and various literary strand appeared along the way. These were edited during the divided kingdom and after the Babylonian exile. These theories, however, are built upon assumptions that have since been proven false or remain unproven.
Is the Pentateuch Mosaic or is it a mosaic? These books show a clear continuity of content, theme, purpose, and style that point to a single author. They make up a unity, not a late and unreliable patchwork. Each book smoothly picks up where the previous book left off. There is a completeness about the Pentateuch not only in its consecutive history but also in its progressive spiritual development:
This book provides the foundation for the entire Bible in its history and theology. Its first eleven chapter give a sweeping survey of primeval events: God’s work of creation, the fall of man, the judgment of the Flood, and the spread of the nations. There is a sudden shift in chapter 12 as God singles out one man through whom He would bring salvation and bless all nations. The remainder of Genesis traces the story of Abraham and his descendants Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
|BOOK||KEY IDEA||THE NATION||THE PEOPLE||GOD’S CHARACTER||GOD’S ROLE||GOD’S COMMAND|
|Genesis||Beginnings||Chosen||Prepared||Powerful Soveriegn||Creator||“Let there be!”|
|Deliver- ed||Redeem- ed||Merciful||Deliver- er||“Let my people go!”|
|Leviticus Cell||Worship||Set Apart||Taught||Holy||Sancti-
|Numbers||Wandering||Directed||Tested||Just||Sustain- er||“Go in!”|
|Renewed||Made Ready||Retaught||Loving Lord||Reward er||“Obey!”|
This book provides the foundation for the entire Bible in its history and theology. Its first eleven chapters give a sweeping survey of primeval events: God’s work of creation, the fall of man, the judgment of the Flood, and the spread of the nations. There is a sudden shift in chapter 12 as God singles out one man through whom He would bring salvation and bless all nations. The remainder of Genesis graces the stroy of Abraham and his descendants Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
Jacob’s descendants have moved from Canaan to Egypt and are suffering under the bondage of a new pharaoh. After a period of four hundred years they cry to God for deliverance. God responds by empowering Moses to stand before Pharaoh and create the ten devastating plagues. After their redemption in the Passover, the Israelite’s leave Egypt, cross the sea, and journey to Mount Sinai. There God reveals His covenant law and gives them the pattern for the building of the tabernacle.
Now that the people have been redeemed and delivered, they must be set apart to God to live holy lives. God gives them instructions for the sacrificial system and the priesthood. The remainder of Leviticus teaches the people how to become ceremonially and morally pure. The emphasis is on sanctification, service, and obedience.
Still at Mount Sinai, the people receive additional directions before proceeding to the promised land of Canaan. When they are on the verge of entering the land, their faith crumbles and God disciplines them by making them wander int he wilderness until the disbelieving generation dies out. The new generation then reaches Moab, the door way to the land of Canaan. It is here that God begins to instruct the people who are about to inherit the land.
Moses is at the end of his life and Joshua has been appointed as his successor. In his farewell messages to the generation that grew up in the wilderness, Moses reminds them of God’s dealings in the past, reviews the need for righteousness and integrity in the present, and reveals what will happen in the near and distant future. Moses then blesses the people and views the Promised Land from Mount Nebo before his death.Resource: The Wilkinson and Boa Bible Handbook, by Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa ♥