THE ENTIRE OLD TESTAMENT (AS IT RELATES TO JESUS CHRIST) IN TEN MINUTES
Genesis chronicles the beginning of both the universe (Gen 1:1) and the planet earth as we know it (Gen 1:2–31), the origin of sin which necessitated the plan of salvation. The book also draws a line from Adam to Noah to Abraham (Genesis 5 through 12) with whose seed God makes a covenant. This line is important because it is the line from which Jesus Christ, the man on whose shoulders salvation rests would come from. The rest of the book focuses on the lineage of Abraham, to wit; Isaac and Jacob, who becomes Israel in the latter portion of Genesis 32. This sets the tone for the entire Old Testament because the rest of it focuses exclusively on Israel. It ends with the Israel and his family of seventy seven going to live in Egypt.
Exodus begins with the oppression of the Israelites and God raising Moses to deliver them from bondage under the hands of Pharaoh to be led into the promised land. This foreshadows Jesus Christ delivering mankind from the bondage of sin and into the glorious habitation of God. The Israelites are released, their journeys in the wilderness are chronicled and they are given the law of Moses and the daily meat and drink offering is instituted and Aaron the Levite is ordained as high priest, his sons as priests. It ends with the tabernacle being built.
Leviticus is the book of ceremonial sacrifices, all of which point to that one perfect offering of Jesus on the cross. The ceremonies and feasts are also instituted, all shadows of the substance which is Christ (Colossians 2:17). Finally, the role of the high priest, as the only one allowed into the holy of holies, once every year on the day of atonement is revealed. Pointing to Christ as the New Testament High Priest (Hebrews 4–10)
Numbers begins with the tribes of Israel being numbered and the Levites on God’s instruction being taken out of the congregation of Israel (in order to minister to God on the people’s behalf) and replaced by the tribe of Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph’s Children). Chronicles the journeys of the Israelites through the wilderness and towards the promised land and their rebellion (Numbers 13) which would eventually cost them an additional 38 years in the wilderness. Jesus Christ is typified as the bronze serpent on a pole Moses lifted up for the healing of those who were bitten (Numbers 21, John 3:14).
Deuteronomy, the last book of Moses written in one day, the exact day he died. He recounts the journey so far, contrasts the rebellion of the people with God’s faithfulness, predicts Israel’s apostasy and rebellion and God’s continued faithfulness to them, gives some additional commandments that would govern the people when they get to the promised land. Moses also prophesies that God would raise up to Israel a prophet similar to him from among them and God would judge whoever would not listen to this Prophet (Deut 18:18). This prophet is revealed to be Jesus in the New Testament (Acts 3:22, 7:37). Ends with Moses’ death.
Joshua reports Israel’s conquering of the promised land. Through wars, defeats, and how a remnant was left among the inhabitants of the promised land to serve as a means to vex the Israelites if they broke their covenant with God. Jesus makes an appearance as the “captain of the host of the Lord” who Joshua worships (Joshua 5:14–15). The events in the book foreshadow the victory in Jesus’ crucifixion, i.e. the victory in defeating death by dying (Hebrew 2:14) and thus leading those under the bondage of sin into God’s promises.
Judges reports a period of generational disconnect in Israel’s history. A new generation who had no idea about God or his dealings with their fathers (Judges 2:7–10). As a result, it was characterized by two themes, the first aptly summed up in Judges 2:15–19, the Israelites would forsake God, get into trouble and then cry out to God, who would then send a “Judge” to deliver them from their enemies, Israel would as a result serve God…until that judge died. The “Judges” in this book were all temporary pictures of Jesus the judge who God anoints to deliver and who does not die. The second theme was the fact that every man did what was right in his own eyes and we see the dysfunction that creates in Judges 17–21.
Ruth is the story of a woman who lived in the period of the judges of the previous book. Her story is singled out because she becomes the mother of Obed, the father of Jesse who gives birth to David.
1 Samuel introduces the era of the kings. As predicted by Moses, Israel requests a king from Samuel that they might be like other nations. This request produces Saul who subsequently falls away while David gains favor in the sight of God and Israel after slaying Goliath of Gath. The rest of the book shows Saul’s numerous campaigns, expeditions and attempts to kill David. It ends with Saul’s death and paves way for David to become King.
2 Samuel begins with David crowned king of Judah. He subsequently becomes king of the whole of Israel and God promises him a King from his loins that would have a kingdom which would be established forever (2Samuel 7). This King of course is Jesus, hence the book of Matthew begins with “The genealogy of Jesus…the Son of David” (Matthew 1:1).
1 and 2Kings explores the lineage of kings that succeed David. The temple was built by Solomon to great applause and fan-fare and Israel prospered under Solomon’s reign. This replaced the tabernacle built under Moses. There was however one little snag, Solomon’s apostasy caused God to take away the kingdom from him but because of His promise to David, He instead split the kingdom into two, leaving David’s lineage with just two tribes (Judah and Benjamin). God gives the other ten tribes to Jeroboam, Solomon’s ex-servant who was in exile. Jeroboam becomes afraid he would be killed and the kingdom returned to David and thus institutionalized idol worship in Israel. This set the tone for all the Kings of Israel to become idolaters, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin continued to be ruled by David’s descendants. After several warnings and pleas which fell on Israel’s deaf ears, God gave Israel into captivity, into the hands of Assyria for a period Jeremiah prophesied would be 70 years.
1 and 2 Chronicles focus on the kingdoms of Judah and Jerusalem where David’s direct descendants continued to rule. They, unlike the tribe of Israel, sometimes had good kings who followed the God of Israel but they also had terrible kings who followed the way of the kings of Israel. They turned the temple of God, including the holy of holies into a temple of idols and eventually after several warnings by the prophets of God went into the captivity, much like Israel. Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah, took the people captive and destroyed the temple of God.
Both Kings and Chronicles are relevant because Jesus Christ was both a Jew and from the tribe of Judah. Also, the book of the Kings reports the split in kingdoms which gives context to the Chronicles.
Ezra chronicles the rebuilding of the temple initiated by king Cyrus and the city of Israel after 70 years in captivity. Nehemiah tells the story of how the walls of the city of Judah were rebuilt. These are significant because without the rebuilding of the cities and the walls of Israel and Judah, prophecies as to the birthplace of Jesus would not be fulfilled. The book of Ezra also provides contexts for the books of Haggai and Zechariah since they were the prophets during the rebuilding of the temple.
Esther is important because if not for the bravery and initiative of the protagonist by that name, the Jews as a race would have been wiped out by Haman and there would be no seed of Abraham for Jesus Christ to be born from.
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Songs of Solomon are all poetic books heavily laden with prophecies and pictures of the person and office of the Messiah.
The books of the Kings and Chronicles give context to the prophets because their words were uttered during the reign of one or more specified kings whose tenure was already discussed in one of those books.
Isaiah prophesied in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Isaiah 1:1). Jeremiah prophesied in the days of Amon, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah until the people of Judah were taken captive (Jeremiah 1:2–3), it was this event that prompted his book of Lamentations.
Ezekiel was a prophet in the days of the captivity (1:1), so was Daniel(Dan 1:1–2), Hosea was sent to Judah and Jerusalem…and you get the rest of the idea.
These prophetic books were God’s message to the people living in the era of the kings whose regimes they prophesied under but at the same time, hidden in those words were prophesies of the New Testament and all it entails, this is why the writers of the epistles make copious reference to the statements of the prophets. To be clear, not even the prophets fully understood the things they were prophesying about in relation to the New Testament(1Peter 1:10–13).
Then finally, Malachi, after criticizing the people of Israel’s lackluster attitude towards God and His laws(and in particular his tithes and offerings) prophesied to Israel about the messenger of the new covenant and a purified priesthood…and we all know who that is…
And this preceded what the scholars and rabbis call “the 400 quiet years” until Jesus Christ, the Man the entire Old Testament was all about, was born.