The Hebrew Bible III

The Earlier Prophets

The books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings are part of the (Earlier) Prophets’ (see the Hebrew Bible).
They are not historical books but prophetic books.

Historical books are about things that happened a long time ago. Prophetic books are for now – the time in which we are living.

The book of Joshua – when translated into Greek in the Septuagint is called ‘Iesous’ – Anglicized to Jesus. There is a whole book in the Bible called Jesus! The first five books of the Bible are about a people chosen by God, their deliverance and their journey through the wilderness. Moses gave them the ‘law’ – Gods covenant and instruction, but only Jesus/Joshua could bring them into the Promised Land.

In the book of Joshua we read that as soon as they entered the Promised Land, God demanded that the Israelites be circumcised. They also needed to be circumcised in order to celebrate Passover. This took place at a place called Gilgal. Joshua 5:9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” We read that Gilgal means ‘rolled away’ because it was the place where God rolled away the shame, the accusation and the blasphemy of Egypt[1]. Although this was a physical act, there were spiritual consequences for their hearts that were extremely important.

We read in Deuteronomy 10:15 – 16 that circumcision of the flesh was not enough but that there was also a circumcision of heart: The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.

In Deuteronomy 30:5-6 the LORD God makes a connection between possessing the Promised Land and the circumcision of heart. First He would rescue them from slavery, from the consequences of their own bad behaviour and idolatry, Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

Gilgal was a foreshadowing of something much bigger that was yet to come. The clue is in the name Gilgal. In Hebrew, Gilgal is written with the letters גלגל which is equivalent to our letters GLGL (Hebrew has no vowels). The last letter of the Hebrew alphabet is a Tav. In Modern Hebrew it looks like this ת, but in ancient Hebrew it looks like this Ϯ – a cross. If we add the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet to Gilgal, in other words, if we add the cross to the place where their shame was rolled away, we get a word in Hebrew or Aramaic that many of us know well: גֻּלְגֹּלֶת  Gulgolet or Golgotha. Golgotha was the place where Jesus was crucified and rolled away the sin of the world (Matthew 27:33).

The next prophetic book of the Bible is the book of Judges – how to judge or discern between what is good in man’s eyes and what is good in God’s eyes. After that the books of Samuel and Kings talk about kingdom principles[2].

Prophetic portions in the Hebrew Bible

In Luke 24:44  Jesus says to the eleven apostles, after His resurrection: These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written  in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me. The Torah is often called the ‘Books of Moses’, and the Psalms refer to the Writings. Jesus made use of Jewish order of books the Bible – in other words the entire Old Testament.

A selection of examples of scriptures that talk about Jesus coming.

Some of the things that were said about the Messiah – centuries before He came:

Genesis 12:3He will bless all nationsActs 3:25,26
Genesis 21:12Seed of IsaacRomans 9:7, Hebrews 11:18
2 Samuel 7:12David’s SeedMatthew 1:1
Isaiah 11:1.Seed of JesseMat. 1:5, 6; Rom. 15:12)
Micah 5:2aBorn in Bethlehem, JudeaMatthew 2:1-2
Hos. 11:1, Num. 24:8Called out of EgyptMatthew 2:14
Num. 24:17-19…AStar out of JacobMat. 2:2, Luke 1:33,78, Rev. 22:16
Isaiah 11:1Called a Nazarene
(Netzer = Branch)
Matthew 2:23
Deut. 18:15A Prophet like MosesMatthew 2:15
Deut. 21:13-23As a prophetJohn 6:14; 7:40, Acts 3:22,23
Ps. 2:7Declared the Beloved SonMt. 3;17
Malachi 3:1Appear at the templeMark 11:15-16
Isaiah 35:5-6; 29:18Heal blind/deaf/lame/dumbMatthew 11:5
Isaiah 53:5Wounded for our sinsJohn 6:51
Psalm 69:21Vinegar and gall for thirstMatthew 27:34
Psalm 22:18Soldiers gambled for his garmentMatthew 27:35
Zechariah 12:10Side piercedJohn 19:34
Daniel 9:26Messiah not killed for HimselfMatthew 20:28
Isaiah 53:3Rejected by His ownMat. 21:42; Mark 8:31, 12:10;
Psalms 41:9Betrayed by a friendJohn 13:21
Isaiah 11:10The Gentiles seek HimJohn 12:18-21
Psalm 68:18Ascended to God’s right handLuke 24:51

A number of the conditions that the Messiah had to fulfill, have already happened, for example, He had to be killed before the destruction of the temple Dan 9:26c, Matthew. 9: 27:50-51.

The Messiah must have visited the temple – before it was destroyed Malachi 3:1-4.

Today no-one can prove that they are directly descended from Jesse, nor from David.

There are no Jews living in Bethlehem any longer.

[1] See Strong numbers: 02781 and 02778

[2] The early Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament combined the books of Samuel and Kings under the title of ‘Kingdoms’, or ‘Reigns’.