17 March 2016

Guide to the Bible (2); Books of Law - By Jack Lewis

After Genesis and Exodus, there are three more books that make up what it called the Pentateuch, or books of law. These books tend to have a bit of a bad reputation, and they are quite difficult to read, but that doesn't mean they are totally useless. The three books in order are Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. 

The first one, Leviticus, probably has the worst reputation of the lot, and it's an incredibly difficult book to read. Basically, it's a detailed list of laws for the Isrealites to follow, and a lot of these laws seem very outdated to us. Many of the laws are about animal sacrifice, but we don't have to do that any more, because when Jesus died on a cross he was "the perfect sacrifice;" in other words his life was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, so now we don't have to slaughter innocent animals to repay God for our sins; Jesus did that once and for all. Perhaps Leviticus is a good book to read when we have read the books of the Bible that are more relevent to us. Maybe it's not where you would direct a very new christian!

After Leviticus is Numbers, and it's a slightly easier read! The first few chapters mainly deal with a large census in Isreal, (hence the name Numbers) and you could be forgiven for skipping those; but from about chapters 9 or 10, the book has a feeling much more like Genesis or Exodus. There are some really interesting stories in there, and it's well worth a read; it mainly tells of the time the Isrealites spent wandering in the desert. Towards the end it reverts a bit more to law.

The final book of the Pentateuch, is Dueteronomy. It's very similar to Numbers, it's almost like a follow up book. In fact the first couple of chapters basically sum up the whole of Numbers! When Moses wrote it, he knew that he was soon going to die, and so it's like his farewell letter, where he instructs the Isrealites how he want's them to live when he is gone. The start of the book is written in the past tense, and he gives all the Isrealite people a bit of a history lesson on why they are stuck in the desert! Then he goes on to explain that God has told him that Joshua, not himself, will lead them into he promised land. Moses did get to see the land from a distance, but he never went into it. And if you want to know how the book ends, basically, Moses dies!