"When you watch sin happen…do you feel mainly disgust or mainly compassion?"

—John Piper on one way to discern if you relate to the Father as the older brother/Pharisee or not; from Desiring God audio, “A Tender Word to Pharisees”

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Purpose of the Pentateuch

"The Pentateuch was written not so much to teach Israel about the Sinai covenant as to teach them about the new covenant. Under the new covenant, the law of Moses was to be inscribed by God’s Spirit on the heart of every believer. Each one would obey God ‘from the new heart’ that God was yet to give them. As the prophets had come to learn from their own study of the Pentateuch, the temple and priesthood had been replaced by the reading of Scripture. This meant that Israel had become a ‘kingdom of priests’ and a holy nation rather than a ‘kingdom with a priesthood’ (as had happened in Ex. 19:24). The prophetic ideal of an individual, personal relationship with God through the reading of his Word had become the rallying cry of the ‘Israelite church.’ A future union of believers consisting of Israel and the nations had already been laid out by the prophetic authors of the Pentateuch (Gen. 35:11; 48:4; Is 66:18-24). All of these features of the prophetic new covenant were foretold in the canonical Pentateuch."

John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch

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from The Meaning of the Pentateuch by John Sailhamer

from The Meaning of the Pentateuch by John Sailhamer

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What was needed

"In Galatians and Romans Paul looks back to the Sinai covenant as something that failed to bring about faith and divine blessing. Nothing was inherently wrong with the Sinai covenant, but something was fundamentally wrong with Israel’s heart: it needed cleansing and filling with God’s love (Deut. 30:6). But as the prophets saw it, Israel had continued to disobey God’s law, and they were in danger of divine correction. Ultimately, the need was to have the law written on their hearts instead of on tablets of stone (cf. Ezek. 36:26-27). Israel’s prophets and the NT authors frequently looked back at the law as a colossal failure. The Sinai covenant was a broken covenant. The NT contrasted the failure of the Sinai covenant with the new covenant, which succeeded in Christ."

John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch

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Purpose of the Pentateuch

"…the Pentateuch itself was not written to teach Israel the law. The Pentateuch was addressed to a people living under the law (Deut. 30:1-2; Ezra 7:6-10) and failing at every opportunity (Neh. 9:33). The Pentateuch looks beyond the law of God to his grace. The purpose of the Pentateuch is to teach its readers about faith and hope in the new covenant (Deut. 30:6)."

John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch

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Currently reading… It may take me a sweet forever to finish, but I think it will be worth it.

Currently reading… It may take me a sweet forever to finish, but I think it will be worth it.

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One of those things that made me go, “hmmmm….,” but I never investigated

"Evangelical biblical scholars have devoted a fair amount of time discussing who wrote the first Pentateuch. Where we have fallen short is in our lack of attention to the question of who wrote the last Pentateuch, that is, the one we now have in our Bible, the one with the notice of the death and burial of Moses in the last two chapters.”

And:

"One of the last statements in the Pentateuch tells us that after Moses dies, ‘There never again arose a prophet quite like him’ (Deut. 34:10). To make that statement, one would have to have lived after the last prophet in Israel…It would also indicate that the last edition of the Pentateuch was written late, after the last prophet, Malachi."

Ah-ha moment!

"We have no ‘first edition’ of the Mosaic Pentateuch."

Well, what do you know?

"[I]t was with the ‘second edition’ of the Pentateuch that the book of the ‘law of Moses’ became an essential part of the OT canon: the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. It is also the edition which PaulĀ  identified as the inspired Scriptures in 2 Timothy 3:16. It is the only edition of the Pentateuch we have."

John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch

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On the Prophetic Echo

"The prophets relied heavily on the Pentateuch and on each other’s ‘comments’ (e.g, 1 Sam. 2:10) and ‘glosses’ on the Pentateuch."

And:

"Prophecy thus had an echo effect as it made its way through the books of the OT. One prophet’s words were heard by another, exegeted, and sent back as an echo of those earlier prophetic words. Each time the prophet’s words were heard and echoed, new clarity and relevance were revealed."

John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch

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Law and Gospel

"The author of the Pentateuch shows readers that Abraham lived centuries before the giving of the Sinai law and its authority over him. In making that point, the author was not suggesting that readers submit themselves to a new code of "Abrahamic" laws, but is making the same point that Paul later makes in Romans 4: readers should have Abraham’s faith if they want to be counted as fulfilling the law. Abraham fulfilled the Sinai law by living a life of faith (Gen. 26:5; Rom. 8:4). This is an amazing "Pauline" statement from within the Pentateuch itself. Long before the coming of Christ, the theology of Jesus and of the apostle Paul is reflected in the author’s intent (mens auctoris).

The purpose of the Pentateuch is not to teach a life of obedience to the law given to Moses at Sinai, but to be a narrative admonition to be like Abraham, who did not live under the law and yet fulfilled the law through a life of faith.”

John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch

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Questions to Consider

"To whom was the Pentateuch written as the norm for biblical faith? For whom was it intended to be normative when first written? Who was its audience? What did it have to say to that audience then, and what, if any, claims does it make on its readers today?"

John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch

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