Surprisingly few pastors can articulate the central message,
or clear distinctives, of each Book of the Bible.
We know this, because for over three and a half decades of ministry in
the streets, market places and shopping malls, across the continent where
we have engaged in personal one-on-one Evangelism and surveys,
it is clear that there is a pervasive Biblical illiteracy.
Even at our camps and courses, and at Bible Colleges, we can see from
the responses to the Bible Exam that most students, and even a surprising
numbers of lecturers, are ignorant of central doctrines of the Scripture
and major events in Redemption history.
The more we study the Bible, the clearer it is that much of what is being done in the
Name of Christianity world-wide is far removed from Biblical Christianity.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man
of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good
work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Surprisingly, few can articulate the central message and clear distinctives
of each Book of the Bible.
When last did you read through every Book of the Bible?
could you explain where each Book fits
in the broad sweep of Redemption History?
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7
Objections and Opposition
On a number of occasions I have come across Christians
who seem to despise knowledge, wisdom and instruction.
"Why are you doing a study on the Old Testament?
What possible relevance can that have to us today?",
"But the Letter kills! It is only the Spirit that gives life!" said another.
"Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates
correction is stupid." Proverbs 12:1
We received criticisms over The Bible in a Nutshell articles
beginning with the Old Testament.
"Why don’t you just start with the New Testament?"
A surprising number have dismissed the Old Testament as
"irrelevant" to Christians today!
"The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul…"
Scripture alone is our ultimate authority. Yet, many of the prevalent
practices and prejudices of all too many Christians today, are
challenged and demolished by the matchless Word of God.
The more we study the Bible, the clearer it is that much of what is
being done in the name of Christianity worldwide,
is far removed from Biblical Christianity.
"My people perish for lack of knowledge…" Hosea 4:6.
The Bible is progressive revelation.
You can only understand the New Testament in the light of the
events, characters, laws, sacrificial system, covenants, promises and
prophecies of the Old Testament.
A great building needs a deep and strong foundation.
A tall tree needs an intricate root structure.
God's Word is the Truth that Transforms
Our Lord Jesus prayed:
"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth." John 17:17
Lessons Learned from the Survey
What are some of the things that I have learned during this
three year project of studying, preaching through
and summarising every Book of the Old Testament?
"Let us examine our ways and test
them, and let us return to the Lord."
Nobody gets a blank
cheque, or a free
pass from God.
The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple – twice –
should have made that crystal clear!
Neutrality is a Myth
There is no middle ground. You are either for God, or against Him.
You are either under the blessings, or under the curses, of
We reap what we sow. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked;
for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." Galatians 6:7
God is Not
God did not give us
the Ten Suggestions.
God has provided us
with specific guidelines
and clear instructions as
to how to approach and
The abrupt judgement of the sons of Aaron, the High Priest, for
introducing strange fire provide a shocking illustration of how the
holiness of God should lead us to fear God and to obey Him.
Cleansing and Consecrating is Required
We may distinguish between what is right and what is wrong,
however God clearly distinguishes between
the sinful, the secular and the sacred.
Just as there is a process that profanes the holy and makes it
common and that pollutes the common to make it unclean, so
there is a process of redeeming the situation by cleansing the
unclean and consecrating the common to make it holy.
Leviticus, explains the downward process that profanes and pollutes
and ends in death and the upward process of cleansing the unclean
and consecrating the common to make it holy.
Seven Deadly Sins of Israel
The people of Israel were condemned for:
ignorance, idolatry, infidelity, immorality,
ingratitude, injustice and interfaith.
The Scriptures roundly condemn the spiritual adultery of
prophets, priests, princes, profiteers and people.
The Most Condemned Sin
The sin most often condemned in the Bible is idolatry. We plainly
have much idolatry in the world and even in the church today.
Cremation is Condemned
Cremation is plainly condemned in Amos 2:1. All the patriarchs
practiced burial (Genesis 47:29-30; 50:25-26; Exodus 13:19). Yet,
many Christian leaders today say that the Bible has nothing to say
concerning whether it is better to practice burial, or cremation.
Body Piercing is Condemned
Body piercing and tattoos are expressly forbidden in the strongest
terms, along with occultism. Yet many leaders in the church today
claim that the Bible says nothing about body piercing and tattoos!
The Scriptures are clear: "You shall not make
any cuttings in your flesh… nor tattoo any
marks on you: I am the Lord" Leviticus 19:28.
"You are the children of the Lord your God.
Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your
heads for the dead, for you are a people holy
to the Lord your God."
Deuteronomy 14: 1 – 2
"The look on their
they parade their sin
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
They have brought
No Age Restrictions
It is also apparent that all ages were
instructed to gather for worship and the
reading of the Law.
There is no mention of children's
church in the Bible.
Do Not be Unequally Yoked
There are repeated, emphatic
prohibitions against mixed marriage.
The Prophets focussed
intense condemnation on
the giving of one's sons and
daughters to marry those of
Joshua warned the
children of Israel that
if they intermarried
with the heathen
nations, “Know for
certain that the Lord
your God will no
longer drive out
these nations from
But they shall be snares
and traps to you, and
scourges on your sides,
and thorns in your eyes,
until you perish from
this good land which
the Lord your God has
given you.” Joshua 23:12-13
The Scriptures record
Solomon’s great sin of
marrying “many foreign
women, as well as the
daughter of pharaoh;
women of the Moabites,
Sideonites and Hittites, from
the nations of whom the
Lord had said to the children
of Israel, you shall not
intermarry with them,
nor they with you.
Surely they will turn away your hearts
after their gods.” 1 Kings 11:2
In his great prayer of
Ezra warned against
Israelites had married the
daughters of the
Canaanites, the Hittites,
the Perusites, the
Moabites, the Egyptians
and the Amorites.
“For they have taken
some of their
daughters as wives
for themselves and
their sons, so that the
Holy seed is mixed
with the peoples of
those lands. Indeed
the hand of the
leaders and rulers has
been foremost in this
So when I heard this thing I
tore my garment and my
robe and plucked out some
of the hair on my head and
beard and sat down
Then everyone who
trembled at the Words of
the God of Israel assembled
to me, because of the
transgression of those who
had been carried away
captive, and I sat
astonished until the evening
At the evening sacrifice,
I rose from my fasting;
and having torn my
garment and my robe,
I fell on my knees and
spread out my hands to
the Lord my God.
And I said: ‘O my God,
I am too ashamed and
humiliated to lift up my
face to You, my God; for
our iniquities have risen
higher than our heads,
and our guilt has grown
up to the heavens.’”
“Now therefore, do not give
your daughters as wives for
their sons, nor take their
daughters to your sons…that
you may be strong and eat the
good of the land and leave it
as an inheritance to your
children forever.” Ezra 9:12
Intermarrying with the heathen
nations around them, Ezra
describes as: “…our great
abominations…” Ezra 9:13-14
When Nehemiah discovered that
some of the believers had
“married women of Ashdod, Ammon and Moab”
and that many of their children could not even speak
the language of Judah “but spoke according to the
language of one or the other people.
So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them, and
pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying you shall
not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their
daughters for your sons or yourselves.
Did not Solomon, King of Israel, sin by these things?
Yet among many nations there was no king like him,
he was beloved of his God; and God made him King over all Israel.
Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin. Should we then
hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by
marrying pagan women?’” Nehemiah 13:24-27
Nehemiah drove from the priesthood a man who was married to a
pagan. Nehemiah banished him “because they have defiled the
priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. Thus I
cleansed them of everything pagan.” Nehemiah 13:28-30
The Law of God warns the believers against following what is popular:
“You shall not follow a crowd to do evil…” Exodus 23:2
Yet today, all too many claim that the Scripture is silent
on this matter.
Who You Marry
There are many genealogies in
the Scriptures, emphasising the
importance of who our ancestors
Who we marry matters for all
We are saved to serve.
Presumption is Not Faith
Much of what is today presented as faith, is condemned as
presumption in the Bible. In presuming that Sarah could give her
maid, Hagar, to Abraham to conceive a child that could fulfil God's
promise of an heir, set in train a disastrous series of events
"There is a way
that seems right
to a man,
but its end is the
way of death.“
Roots of the
The presumption of
Abraham and Sarah led to
the birth of Ishmael
"a wild man";
"…his hand shall be against
every man, and every man's
hand against him…"
To a large extent the violence and hostility of the Muslim Arab
nations today, is an ongoing legacy from that presumption,
4,000 years ago.
Esau Have I Hated
The Bible says that God loved Jacob, but He hated his brother, Esau
(Malachi 1:2-3). Esau showed contempt for the Covenant by
marrying two Hittite woman, who were a grief of mind to his
parents, Isaac and Rebecca (Genesis 26:34-35).
Esau later married a daughter of Ishmael (Genesis 28:9).
Esau despised his heritage and sold his birthright for a mere plate
of food (Genesis 25:33-34).
The descendants of Esau,
Edom, became the intractable
enemies of the people of God.
The Enmity of the
The descendants Esau,
the Edomites, are condemned in
particular by Obadiah,
for their role in the fall of
joining in the destruction
After the Exile of the people of Judah to Babylon,
the Edomites migrated into the now, mostly depopulated, Judah.
The Edomites came to control Judah to such an extent
that the Edumians became kings of Judah.
Herod the great, an Edomite, became king of Judah in 37 B.C. The
age-old enmity between Esau's descendants and those of Jacob, are
seen in the attempt of king Herod to murder Jesus at His birth in
Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-18).
The hatred of the Jewish high priests and the mob in the streets
against the Lord Jesus Christ leading to His betrayal, mockery of a
trial and crucifixion, reflected how much the poison of the
Edomites had infected the people of Judah.
Dates and Context Matters
Chronology is important. Context is key. Many pre-exilic
prophecies (already fulfilled) are today being applied
to present and future events.
End times prophets often abuse Old Testament prophecies given
before the Exile and fulfilled in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, are
being peddled as futuristic and confusing a great number of people.
These false prophets open up the church to ridicule and inoculate
a great many people against the church, which they perceive as
crying wolf, date setting and prophesying events which fail to take
Return of the Judaizers
Today's Judaizers, Hebrew Roots, Sacred Name movements and
Zionists are actually a cult. The first Church conference in
Jerusalem (Acts 15) rejected the premise of the Judaizers.
The Books of Galatians, Philippians and Hebrews expressly reject
and condemn these teachings. The Zionists, Judaizers, Hebrew
Roots and Sacred Name movements are worshipping a false God
and proclaiming a false gospel.
"Therefore the Law was our tutor to bring us to
Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Galatians
3:24. In 1 Corinthians 10, we read that all these things are
written for our instruction. Judgement begins at the House of God.
Jesus Christ is the Fulfilment of all
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of all Old Testament
The Old Testament must be interpreted Christologically.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Seed of the woman, the Door to the Ark,
the Sacrifice of Isaac, Jacobs Ladder, Joseph lifted out of the pit, the
Rock from which water flowed in the wilderness
our Passover Lamb, the Bread of life,
the Serpent lifted up on the stake in the wilderness, our High Priest,
the Commander of the army of the Lord, our Kinsman Redeemer,
the Sign of Jonah, the Fountain of living waters.
The Path of Blessing
or the Broad Way to Destruction
God sent His messenger, John.
The Lord Himself came into His Temple and cleansed it.
Moses and Elijah point to Christ.
All the prophets point to Christ. Christ has come.
He is the Sun of
Righteousness who has
arisen with healing in
Christ is the Fountain
which brings blessing
to all the nations of the
Those who bless Christ
will be blessed.
Those who curse Christ will be cursed.
He is the only hope for mankind.
"Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made.
He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one,
'And to your Seed,' who is Christ." Galatians 3:16
Chose This Day Whom You Will Serve
The Old Testament ends with a warning of a curse as the
New Testament ends with a promise of God's blessings on
all who will trust and obey Him.
therefore in the
liberty by which
Christ has made
and do not be
with a yoke of