The Old Testament
The Old Testament is an amazing collection of history, science, adventure, praise and worship, and remarkable prophecy. Above all, it is God’s story and just how we all fit into his plans for all of his creation. It was originally written primarily in Hebrew with some books partly or wholly written in Aramaic. A complete translation into Greek was undertaken during the 3rd Century BC and was called the Septuagint or LXX. It was required because the Jewish people were now scattered around Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Greek was by that time the common language of those regions.
The first five books are called the books of Moses, the books of the Law or Torah. They start with Genesis that takes us from the time when God created everything, to him all but destroying everything because the humans had become so wicked through to him choosing a man from whom a mighty nation would arise to be known as God’s chosen people. This man was Abraham. The book continues with his story and that of his descendants to the time they went into Egypt, where they would become slaves. The next four books tell of God raising up Moses, who was to lead the Hebrews out of captivity in Egypt and into the Promised Land of Palestine. But the people messed up again and ended up walking around the desert until all but two of the adults born in slavery were dead, so that a new nation could arise in the new land. During this time God gave his laws and statutes to his people that they were meant to live by in order to demonstrate to the world how great life could be for those who lived according to God’s will.
The story then continues showing that when the people honoured God they were highly favoured and prospered. Every time they drifted away from God life just got harder. They reached their height of prosperity and world influence some 250-380 years after coming out of Egypt during the reigns of King David and his son Solomon with a kingdom stretching from the Red Sea in the south to the River Euphrates in the north.
Over the generations it became a spiraling decline, with many of the people being taken into captivity as God and his prophets had warned, most of them never to return to their homeland. Apart from a brief period just before the birth of Jesus, they would never have control of their homeland again until 1947, and they are still being strongly opposed today.
The prophets had not only foretold of the demise of the Hebrew or Jewish race but many have foretold, with amazingly accurate detail, that God would reconcile all of humankind, his creation, back to himself by sending them a Messiah or Christ. This would come in the person of his Son, Jesus of Nazareth, who fulfilled nearly 400 of the Messianic prophecies. The story of his life, death and resurrection, the building of the early church, and the effects that has had on humanity is told in The New Testament.
The Old Testament can be divided into the following sections: