I recently started reading the Bible from the beginning. I had read Genesis, the Gospel of John, Luke, Matthew and Mark before and I had also read Revelation of John. Now I read the first four books of Moses from the Old Testament and started to lose myself among so many lists of tribes. I suspect that at some point in the reading, due to increasing sins of the people of Israel and of other nations, God will promise to send the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, to sacrifice Himself on the cross to wash the sins of mankind. I do not want to anticipate, but at what point in the Bible / Old Testament happens this? I will try to read the whole Bible, but I want to ask you what particular books of the Bible do you consider that are essential to be read for a better understanding of God’s message?
What books of the Bible one must necessarily read?
It’s good that you have read those books of the New Testament before and now you started to read the Bible in its entirety. The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments contain the whole message of God and it is very important for everyone to read the entire Bible, without which one could not eventually understand some important passages, truths or doctrines of the Bible that are explained by themselves by the fact that a passage throws more light on the other one and brings more details. As regarding to the lists of the tribes, this should not scare you. On a simple reading they seem boring, but when you start to study the Bible carefully and in details you will find them very important. So, I advise you to patiently read the Bible from beginning to end to gain a good overview and a deep foundation for further study. Even more, it is good besides the detailed study of a book or a topic from the Bible, to be always in a continuous reading of the Bible from beginning to end. For thorough study I recommend you to use the inductive Bible study materials that are exceptionally well designed and help everyone to understand the meaning of the message of the Scripture.
Where in the Old Testament appear the first prophecies about the Lord Jesus Christ?
Some Bible scholars consider that the Old Testament contains over 300 prophecies which refer to the first and second coming of Jesus Christ. Some of those prophecies you’ve already read in the first four books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. The first one is found in Genesis chapter 3 that describes the fall of man into sin. When He spoke to the serpent God said:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. (Genesis 3:15)(NASB)
This seed of the woman is the Lord Jesus who bruised on the old serpent’s head, that of Satan and the devil bruised Him on the heel when His heels were nailed at the crucifixion.
The following prophecy about Jesus is the promise given by God to Abram:
And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3)(NASB)
Through the Lord Jesus, who was born of Abraham all the families of the earth were blessed and other texts of the Scripture specify more details on this prophecy.
When Jacob blessed his sons, he told Judah:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (Genesis 49:10)(NASB)
Shiloh means here “the one who makes peace, or brings peace”. This is a direct prophecy about the person of the Lord Jesus who was born of the tribe of Judah, and is called in the Bible the Prince of Peace because He took upon Himself the punishment for the sins of mankind and brought peace between people and God. People of all nations listen to Him, but there comes a time when every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess to the glory of God the Father that Jesus Christ is the Lord.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru