"To pray is to change."

— R. Foster, Celebration of Discipline

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It’s been about 15 years since I last read this book. I wonder which parts will speak to me most deeply this time around…

It’s been about 15 years since I last read this book. I wonder which parts will speak to me most deeply this time around…

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Poetry in the Pentateuch

"The three major poems in the Pentateuch frequently refer to and allude to the smaller poems in Genesis 1-11. In doing so, they link the themes of the poems in Genesis 1-11 to the messianic and eschatological hope expressed in the larger poems."

"The messianic hope begins to emerge from these poems along with the eternal reign of God as king."

- John Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch

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Hope at the end of the Pentateuch

"The fact that the Pentateuch ends with Israel still in the wilderness leads one to draw a remarkable conclusion: the author of the Pentateuch leaves open the question of the time of the fulfillment of the patriarchal blessings."

"The ending he gives to the Pentateuch as a whole shows his desire to leave open a possibility that’s future remains for God’s commitment to Israel."

- John Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch

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Where does the Pentateuch end?

"There is more than one place that appears to be an end to the Pentateuch."

Interesting….

"If we take the Pentateuch as it comes to us in the OT Scriptures, no doubt it ends with the last verses of Deuteronomy 34 (Deut 34:10-12). Not only is Moses dead and buried by this time (Deut 34:5-9), but also, the writer tells us, ‘A prophet like Moses never did arise in Israel, one who knew God face to face’ (Deut 34:10). That is quite a revealing statement. Clearly, the author who made this statement knows about the entire line of prophets who followed Moses. He also knows that none of them, not even one, was ‘like Moses.’ All of them have come and gone, and Moses has no equal. A huge jump is made here at the end of the Pentateuch, taking us from the last days of Moses to the last days of the prophets."

—John Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch

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"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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