Questions On The Old Testament

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Question 1. I need to know who the book of Zachariah was written for? like what type of audience?

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Answer To understand the book of Zechariah, as with almost all the Old Testament prophets, you must have an idea of the historical context in which they were written. In the case of Zechariah, the following facts must b noted:

1. 586 BC - Last stage of Babylonian captivity was competed with the destruction of the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem by the armies of Babylon. Left in Jerusalem, were the poorest of the poor and the rest were either destroyed or carried back to Babylon for serving the Empire.

2. 538 BC - A decree is issued by Cyrus, Persian King who conquered Babylon, that the Jews, along with any of the other conquered peoples, might return to their homelands, rebuild their temples and worship their own gods according to their traditions. Ezra 1:2-4.

3. 536 BC - a small number of Jews return under the leadership of Zerubbabel and begin to rebuild the Temple. But after the foundation is built, they become discouraged and stop the work. Ezra 3:1-13, 5:14-16.

At this point, God raises up two prophets, Haggai and Zecharia,h, whose missions are to encourage the people to finish the great work that had been started. According, to Haggai, they do begin trusting in the Lord, work on the Temple and in just over three weeks, accomplish their goal, the finishing of the Temple.

The main message of Zechariah is that if the people will purify themselves, separate themselves from sin and turn to God and His work, they will prosper. This is the basic background for Zechariah.
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Question 2. I have heard that in the Old Testament Ruth & Naomi, it states that a man shall take in his brother's wife. Please let me know where I can find this scripture.

Answer To answer your question, I also will have to give some background to the book of Ruth because it does provide one of the few examples of this particular law in action. Before doing that though, let's look at the Law itself.

First, here is the Law on this subject.

DEU 25:5 ¶ "When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband's brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her.
DEU 25:6 "And it shall be that the first-born whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out from Israel.
DEU 25:7 "But if the man does not desire to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to establish a name for his brother in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband's brother to me.'
DEU 25:8 "Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, 'I do not desire to take her,'
DEU 25:9 then his brother's wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall declare,' Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother's house.'
DEU 25:10 "And in Israel his name shall be called, 'The house of him whose sandal is removed.'

Here, we are told that if an Israelite man dies leaving a wife behind with no children, then the brother of that man is to marry the widow and raise up a son to take the dead brother's name. In this way, the land, not only could be kept by the wife, but could also be inherited by the son.

As time passed, if there were no brothers to take this responsibility, it was passed on to the nearest relative. This is where we come to the book of Ruth.

Ruth chapter one tells the story of Naomi, her husband and two sons going to Moab to live. There, her sons marry women of Moab, one of them being Ruth. While there, Naomi's husband and her two sons die. This prompts Naomi's return to Israel. It is Ruth who persists to such a degree that Naomi allows her to return with her.

In chapters 2 and 3, we find Ruth seeking out a relative of her husband, Boaz. She gathers grain in the fields and Boaz extends kindness toward her.

After deciding to honor the obligation of a relative to take the wife of the dead kensman, Boaz seeks to give a closer relative opportunity to marry Ruth. This takes place in Ruth chapter four. However, the kensman refuses and Boaz marries Ruth, fulfilling this obligation to raise up a name for her husband.

Besides this, the story has tremendous implications for us because it shows how the line of King David continues which eventually brings us Jesus, the Messiah.

MAT 1:5 and to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab; and to Boaz was born Obed by Ruth; and to Obed, Jesse;
MAT 1:6 and to Jesse was born David the king. ¶ And to David was born Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah;
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Question 3. How is the suffering that Job experiences be related to the entire message of God's Word?

Answer First, to answer, let me try to summarize the book of Job. Then, I will relate Job's suffering to the New Testament and to us today.

In the first two chapters of Job, we learn the key to the entire book. It is the account, which happened probably not too long after the Flood, of a habitually good man who God evaluated as righteous. However, God allows Satan to test Job to see if he will hold to his righteous behavior or reject God. Satan's estimation of Job is, he is only serving God because he has been greatly blessed with all physical things. God allows Satan not only to take away his children and possessions, but also his health. However, in all this, Job still remains steadfast in his faith toward God. See Job 1-2.

After his suffering has begun, his three friends come and seek to "comfort" him by encouraging him to repent and confess his sins, for that is the reason for his suffering. He is suffering because he is a sinner and is only getting that which he deserves. That is their evaluation of his suffering. See Job 4:6-8, 8:1-7, 22:4-7, 11:6.

Job continues to believe in his own righteousness and continues to trust in God, although he does not understand why God has brought about such suffering. He has no idea that Satan is directly behind his suffering. See Job 6:1-13, 19:23-29.

Finally, after much debate between Job and his friends, God appears in a whirlwind and demands of Job to answer a series of questions which display the Wisdom and Power of God in His creating the material and animal worlds. God always has a purpose in creation, even in the suffering of Job. Although Job is not told the specific nature of his suffering, he is satisfied and humbles himself before God, recognizing His greatness and the dependence of Job upon God for all things, whether he understands all things or not. See Job 38-42.

Now, what did this have to do with the rest of the Bible. It helps us understand that although we seek to be righteous, sometimes we suffer. And, many times our suffering is not explained to or understood by us. Like Job, we must have faith and trust in God that he knows what He is doing in all circumstances. Also, we are helped in knowing that Jesus Himself entered into suffering, although He was sinless, so that we might eventually spend eternity with Him in glory. Therefore, we are able to put suffering in its perspective and continue to trust and serve God. See Romans 8.
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Question 4. What is the application of the book of Malachai to the church today? What is God saying today through Malachai

Answer The name Malachi means "My Messenger".  The book was written somewhere around 440 B.C.  During this time, the people had been back in Jerusalem for around 100 years after they had been captive in Babylon for 70 years.  Malachi addresses great problems of his day that have direct application to us.  He also addressed what God would do in the future which has direct application to us.

The two problems he addressing by having an imaginary dialog with the people are corrupted worship and corrupted daily morality. 

As to the first, the people had been become indifferent and careless in their worship of God.  They were not offering to God what he demanded of them.  This is a lesson for us.  John 4:23-24, Matt. 15:1-120.  We must worship God only in the way He directs, doing what He says from our hearts and not out of careless empty ritual.

Further, the people had become morally corrupt divorcing their wives and marrying idolaters.  Mal. 2:11-17.  Here, we see God hated unjustified divorce.  Is that not a practical lesson for us today?  Matt. 19:1-12.  Further, we see that their lack of morality was also what corrupted their worship.  God did not accept their immoral living and their empty attempts at half-heartedly offering to him whatever they wanted to offer.

Finally, Malachi serves as a bridge between the Old and New Testaments for in the last two verses (4:5-6) he prophesies of one to come who would prepare the way before the Messiah.  That one who came was John the Baptist.  He preached repentance and obedience to the Jews just as Elijah had done hundreds of years before.  See Mark 1 and Matt. 1-3.  Contact Gary

Question 5. What is the key verse in the book of  Habakkuk?  Who wrote the book of Habakkuk?

Answer First, Habakkuk wrote the book and probably around 625 B.C. or so.  The primary purpose of his writing was to prepare the people for what was to come, they would be defeated and conquered by the Babylonians.   Besides declaring these judgments against Judah (the southern kingdom - Israel being divided in 931 B.C. and northern kingdom being destroyed by Assyria in 722 B.C.), Habakkuk also revealed his perplexities and God's responses to them.  Therefore, we learn more about why God deals with His people in the ways that he does along with the actual prophecies themselves.

In chapter one, Habakkuk presents God with his disturbing problem, how long is the wickedness of Judah going to continue?  God gave the answer, not long because I (God) will judge the nation by bringing against them the dreaded wicked Babylonian Empire.

This raises another question to the prophet, "How can God use a wicked nation to judge His people?"  Bod responds in two parts by saying, first, those who we be pleasing to me will trust me and obey me, even if they do not understand all my judgments.   From this, comes the most famous verses from the book, Hab. 2:4.  This verse is repeated in the New Testament show us how we should live by trusting and obeying God, not seeking to understand all aspects of God which we can never do.  Rom 1:16-17, Gal. Gal. 3:9-29, Heb. 10:35-39.

Then, God says that He will punish the Babylonians because of their pride and wickedness.  Hab.  2.  God would use the Medes and the Persians to conquer Babylon.

In Habakkuk, we see God judging the nations, including His own people when needed.   We see God using wicked nations to judge others and then punishing them when their wickedness reaches an intolerable level.  Finally, we see God telling Habakkuk, no matter what comes, put your confidence and obedient trust in Me.  Hab. 3, especially verses 16-19.  Contact Gary

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"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®,
© Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971,
  1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission."
(www.Lockman.org)

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"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®,
© Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971,
  1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission."
(www.Lockman.org)

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