Welcome to OCBC. We’re in the midst of the Christmas season - it is getting closer. We just finished a long walk through the book of Genesis and the lives of the Patriarchs, and we ended last week with the last words of Joseph, the last verses of the book of Genesis, and one thing I remarked last week was how surprised I was that the Book of Genesis ends with a Christmas text. Here it is in Genesis 50:24-26:
24 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” 25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” 26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
Now obviously this text sets us up for God’s deliverance of the Israelites in the Book of Exodus, the next book of the Bible, but I think it points to something more, particularly in the context of the book of Genesis, in the Pentateuch as a whole, and in the context of the whole Bible; specifically, that it is a text that points us to Christmas, for the reality of Christmas is that God has literally visited his people in the person of Jesus the Emmanuel - “God with us” - Jesus, so named because he will be the one to save his people from their sins. I was intrigued because I knew that Deuteronomy also, the last of the five books of Moses, also ended in its closing verses with a statement pointing to Christmas, and so that made me wonder - does every Book of Moses end with a statement pointing us to Christmas? And I found out, “No” . However, what I found was very interesting, and I thought it would be appropriate to share it with you this morning, especially as some of you have asked me what I’ll be preaching on after Genesis and whether I’ll just continue going through the Old Testament. Well that is not my plan, but during this Christmas season I do think that a it might be appropriate to follow the storyline a bit more, specifically as the Old Testament points us to Christmas, and the coming of our Lord to visit us.
Its definitely appropriate to read the Old Testament this way as Jesus himself taught his disciples to read the Old Testament with Christmas in mind. After he raised from the dead, Jesus taught his disciples:
Luke 24:44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.”
And so this morning we’re going to quickly walk through the Law of Moses, the first five books of the Bible, sometimes referred to as the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, and I think we’ll see how each Book of Moses contributes a key theme, like a piece of a puzzle that together provides for us an astounding picture of who Jesus is, why he came to dwell among us, and the nature of his ministry. Obviously we’re going to move quickly as a study like this can only be a general overview, but I hope this helps your Bible reading and that you can dig deeper into these texts and study on your own.