What is the Book of the Hebrew Bible known as “The Words”?
By Don Ruhl
“These are the words,” begin a certain Bible Book, and in the Hebrew Bible the title is, “The Words,” but in the Greek translation of the Old Testament made in Alexandria, Egypt in the second century before Christ, the Jewish scholars changed the title of the Book to something that we use today. Do you know the Book of the Bible to which I make reference?
Do you think American school children should know American history? Should they know why we fought the Revolution? Should they know what led to the formation of the Constitution? Should they know about the Civil War? Should they know the history of the 20th century?
Not only should they know those things, they should know world history, because America did not happen in a vacuum. If you do not understand England’s dominance over the colonies, and if you do not understand the history of the world, especially of Europe, you will never understand fully the significance of America, and especially our Constitution.
However, which is greater: America or the Church? I believe that America is the third greatest nation ever to be on the Earth, and Israel under David, Solomon, and some kings of Judah is number two, but the number one greatest nation is the church!
If we should know American and world history, should we not much more know the history that led up to the church? Do you know where you have to go to learn that history?
Friends, you have to go to the Old Testament in the Bible. If you do not know the Old Testament, you will have a serious lack of understanding and appreciation for the New Testament and the church. Why is that? The Bible is one story. Unfortunately, we see it as disconnected stories, and that the Old Testament has nothing to do with us today. That is a false and dangerous idea. What we have in the New Testament began in the Old.
Listen carefully to Jesus, as found in John 5, for He will show an inseparable connection between knowing Moses, knowing the Book of The Words and knowing Jesus,
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5.46, 47).
If that be true, what about Christians who will not even read Moses, specifically the Book known as “The Words”? If you do not know the Book of The Words, there are things about Jesus that you will not know.
Also, in the Book of The Words chapter 18, Moses prophesied that God would raise up a prophet like Moses,
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear…” (The Words 18.15).
In Acts 3, Peter says that Jesus is that prophet. Therefore, if you do not know Moses, your knowledge of Jesus will suffer serious deficiencies.
It is not just that the Old Testament is interesting, which would be like saying American history is interesting, but beyond that it is of no use.
What Is the Book of The Words about?
“Remember” and “do not forget” dominate this Bible Book. Thirteen times Moses told the people to remember something. Ten times he told them not to forget something.
The tenth chapter shows what God requires,
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (The Words 10.12, 13).
The Book of The Words presented Israel with two choices, and truly Christians have the same options, because our God never changes, operating the same now as then,
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (The Words 30.19, 20).
Why Is the Book of The Words in the Bible?
The Book of The Words makes a connection between the Promise and you. What did God promise Abraham?
“And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 12.3).
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land” (Gen 12.7).
The promise ultimately is for the world. Israel was God’s vehicle. The Book of The Words shows Israel at the border of the Land of Canaan, part of the nation-land/spiritual seed promise. The Book of The Words shows God preparing Israel to bless the world.
The Promise in Genesis 12 shows that from the beginning, the Lord intended to bless all mankind, not just Israel. But then someone says, Okay, so what is with Israel? Why is Israel in the Bible? Why did God gave the nation of Israel the Law of Moses? And what does the Law of Moses have to do with us?
Galatians 3 is huge on this matter.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal 3.13, 14).
And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator (Gal 3.17–19).
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Gal 3.13–24).
The Book of The Words also Affirms The Family Promise of God
The Book of The Words chapter 4, records Moses as saying,
“But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day” (The Words 4.20).
“that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today, that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be God to you…” (The Words 29.12, 13).
We join in this promise, because we have been delivered out of the iron furnace of sin, for our sin was leading us to an eternity in hell, but now that the Lord has delivered us from our sin, we have become part of His covenant, and so we have become the people of God.
The Book of The Words Shows that Everything about the Israelites Had God at the Center
He addressed every issue of life, not only in the Book of The Words, but throughout the Law.
Christians seem relieved that it is not like that for us, but it is. Why do we get the idea that God is not involved in all parts of our lives?
Paul said, “giving thanks always for all things” (Eph 5.20). Every good gift and every perfect act of giving, comes down from the Father of Lights (Jam 1.17). That means your food, the air you breathe, the microbes that live in your gut, gravity, birth in your family, death in your family, jobs, health, forgiveness, hope of eternal life, it all comes from God.
Before the foundation of the world, the Lord had a plan to save man, and the Book of The Words is part of that plan, because the Lord promised Abraham that in him, the Lord would bless all the families of the Earth.
Part of the revelation of that blessing were these things: First, the Lord needed a nation to prepare the world for the promised blessing by revealing the need for a blessing, second, by fleshing out the promise, and third, by giving the Law.
The Law dealt with sin, the reason we need the blessing. However, the world needed to learn everything about sin, including that we are all sinners,
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom 3.19, 20).
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3.23).
The Book of The Words fits into that part of God’s plan.
Later in Romans 7, Paul showed why we need salvation. He quoted from the Book of The Words to show that we have all sinned,
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet” (Rom 7.7).
Paul quoted from the Ten Commandments, found both in Exodus 20 and The Book of The Words 5, and the commandment he choose to quote was, “You shall not covet.” When you want something that belongs to another, you covet it.
Have you ever in your life coveted something that did not belong to you? The Ten Commandments give some examples. Do not your neighbor’s wife or husband, your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s property, your neighbor’s workers, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Have you coveted any of those things? If so, you have sinned, and thus failed to reach the target of God’s glory.
If you have never coveted, there are other things in God’s word that you have violated.
If so, you have sinned. The Book of The Words thus shows that you have violated God’s will, but He did not simply create you to banish you from Him forever in hell, rather He let His blessed Son suffer the consequences of your sin, that is what you see Jesus suffering on the cross.
Now, you do not have to suffer by eternal separation from God, but you can enjoy eternal life with Him, if you turn to Him in fullness of faith, accepting that Jesus is the Son of God, and that you are ready to be baptized to wash away your sin, and to begin a new life in Him.
Have you figured what Book is The Words?
- God’s Unlikely Choices Against Insurmountable Odds (thebiblemeditator.wordpress.com)