10 Interesting Facts About The Old Testament

1. The Old Testament was the Jewish Bible

The Jewish Bible or "Hebrew" Scriptures are the same exact books as our English Old Testament. All the Books are the same although they are arranged differently. In our English Old Testament the first book is Genesis and the last is Malachi. In the Jewish Scriptures the first book is Genesis and the last is Chronicles. The Jews divided their Scriptures into 3 divisions: The LAW, The PROPHETS, and The WRITINGS. The Hebrew Bible was organized as follows:

The LAW:
5 Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
4 Early Prophets- Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings
5 Latter Prophets- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, The Twelve
3 Poetical- Psalms, Proverbs, Job
5 Rolls- Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther
3 Books- Daniel, Ezra Nehemiah, Chronicles
Note: The Jews combined 1 and 2 Samuel into one book. same with Kings, Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, and the 12 minor prophets into one book. This made a total of 24 books, the equivalent of the 39 books in our English Bible and in a different order.

2. Jesus Believed in the Whole Old Testament

When Jesus referred to "the Scriptures" he was referring to the entire Old Testament from beginning to end. He spoke about people and events in the Old Testament as historical, which many have classified as fiction. For example: The Creation of the World, Adam and Eve, Satan, Noah and the Flood, Abraham, Lot's Wife, Sodom and Gomorrah, Moses and the Burning Bush, The Exodus and Passover, the Manna in the Wilderness, the Bronze Snake, the Tabernacle of Moses, King David, King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, the Temple in Jerusalem, Nineveh and the Assyrians, Jonah and the Whale, just to name a few. He spoke many times about the Scriptures: "The Scriptures cannot be broken" John 10:35; "This day the Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing" Luke 4:21; "Hath not the Scripture said" John 7:42; "Have you never read the Scriptures" Matthew 21:42. Jesus believed that the entire Old Testament from beginning to end was the Word of God, and that it could not be destroyed, and everything it says will be fulfilled in due time.

"Until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle will pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:18

3. There Were Extraordinarily Long Lifespans Before the Flood

The Bible records that before the Flood of Noah the age of man exceeded a 900 year lifespan. The Book of Genesis says that Adam died at the age of 930, and his son Seth died at the age of 910. In fact many of Adam's descendants before the flood died over 900 years of age. The oldest man to have ever lived according to the Bible was Methuselah who died at the age of 969. Some scholars also believe that according to the etymology of his name "when he dies it shall be sent" reveals that God's judgement of the flood came upon the earth the exact day that Methuselah died. Noah is said to have died at 950 years old, he was at age 600 during the great flood and would have lived almost to the time of Abraham. Scholars have speculated regarding the world before the flood and what it was like. Genesis talks about God creating the "firmament" of water above the whole earth and later was released to cause the flood. It is believed by many that this "firmament" produced a worldwide tropical environment and a longevity of all living things including man. The Bible is not clear on all the details of this pre-flood "antediluvian" period, yet Jesus mentioned Noah as a historical person and the flood as a historical event.

Archaeological Note: The Weld-Blundell Prism was an ancient Babylonian prism written in cuneiform, discovered near the ancient city of Ur. It contains a list of the kings of the ancient Persian Gulf area dating from 3200-1800 BC. 10 of the kings had extraordinary long life spans, and would have existed before the flood.

Another archaeological discovery worthy of note was a burial site at ancient Varna, in Bulgaria near the western coast of the Black Sea. The oldest gold treasure in the history of the world was discovered here with relics dating back to the antediluvian period (4500 B.C.). One warrior of high status is seen wielding a battle axe, and depictions reveal that the worship of the bull was prominent. The technology at this site is highly advanced showing the use of copper 2,000 years before the copper and bronze age. Mathematics and astronomical calculations date 2,000 years prior to the pyramids at Giza. See Varna Discovery

4. The Old Testament Reveals the Origin of Races and Nations

According to the Bible every nation had its origin from the three sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The Tower of Babel forced mankind to migrate over the whole earth according to God's original command to be fruitful and replenish the earth. Shem's descendants populated the Semitic nations of the east. Ham's descendants populated the African nations. Japheth's descendants populated the European nations. (See the Table of Nations)

Shem was the father to the Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Lydians, and Syrians. They populated the Near East and East.
with the father to the Ethiopians, Egyptians, Libyans, and Canaanites. They populated Africa and Canaan.
was the father to the Cimmerians (Germans, French, Spanish, and British), the Scythians, the Medes, the Turks, the Slavs, and the Etruscans. They populated Europe and the Northeast.

5. The 10 Commandments were Spoken by the Mouth of God from Mount Sinai

The Book of Exodus reveals that when the children of Israel had escaped Egypt they journeyed to Mount Sinai where God appeared to them. God told Moses that the people were to prepare themselves to meet their God, and his voice was going to sound like a mighty trumpet blast. When the time came they saw a spectacular display of miracles on top of the mountain. There were great earthquakes, flashes of lightning, pillars of smoke, a furnace of fire, a cloud, and thick darkness. Suddenly the voice of God like a trumpet sounded, it got louder and louder till they thought they were going to die. God suddenly spoke his 10 "Words" or commandments from the midst of the fire. This so terrified them that they did not want to come near the mountain but requested that Moses go up on their behalf. When Moses went up the LORD inscribed the 10 commandments on two stone tablets. Later in the Bible Moses reminded Israel of the dreadful time that they met God and heard his voice:

Deuteronomy 4:36 - Out of heaven he made you to hear his voice, that he might instruct you. On earth he made you to see his great fire; and you heard his words out of the middle of the fire.

Deuteronomy 5:4 - The LORD spoke with you face to face on the mountain out of the middle of the fire,

6. The Canaanites were too Wicked to Occupy Canaan any Longer

The Old Testament reveals that God promised Abraham that his descendants would be given a land by God that they could call their own. They would drive out the original inhabitants and conquer the land and not allow anyone to live. The Bible gives the reason why. God reveals earlier in the Scriptures that the wickedness within the land of Canaan was great, and that because of their wickedness the land would vomit them out (Leviticus 18:25). Even during the time of Abraham God revealed that they were very wicked, but not ready to be removed yet, because their "wickedness was not complete." (Genesis 15:16). But what exactly was the wickedness of the Canaanites? What were they doing that made them exceedingly wicked? The Bible says that there were seven nations in the land of Canaan that would be conquered. They were worshipers of false gods who demanded live human sacrifices to appease them. One famous archaeologist made a chilling remark in one of his books. He stated that the foundation of nearly every building that was erected in the ancient world was erected over the offering of a firstborn sacrificial victim who was "buried alive." The Old Testament reveals that the Canaanites were actually sacrificing to demons, and all of the rituals, and temple prostitution, and incest, and orgies, and divination, and many other gross immoralities were inspired by the worship of demons. 400 years earlier when Abraham sojourned the land of Canaan, he witnessed the destruction of the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone from heaven because of their wickedness. Only Abraham's nephew Lot and his two daughters escaped the devastation.

Note: It is important to note that Noah's son Ham had committed a sin and Noah cursed Ham's son Canaan as a result (Genesis 9:25). The Bible does not mention the exact nature of Ham's sin, nor does it mention why Canaan was cursed, but some have speculated that Ham committed incest with his mother and they gave birth to Canaan, therefore Noah cursed Canaan.

Also see The Seven Nations of Canaan

"When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you," (Deuteronomy 7:1)

"For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. 'You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled, lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. 'Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 18:25-30).

"Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete." (Gen 15:16).

7. Israel's Worship of only One God was for Mockery

According to the Bible Abraham was the father of all the Jews and the first Hebrew. His faith in only one God would be a landmark in history, yet a thing to be mocked by every nation. The Old Testament records that the LORD appeared to Abraham in a distant land near the Persian Gulf known as Ur of the Chaldees. God promised Abraham that if he would leave his homeland and journey to a land that he had never seen before, he would be very blessed. He would be given a beautiful land for his innumerable number of descendants who would dwell there. They would be blessed beyond imagination, and one of their descendants would be the Savior of all mankind. Abraham was to take his family and go to this land, and he would be a pilgrim there but was not allowed to make it his permanent home. It would be his descendants that would inherit the land and live there. We learn in the Old Testament that the land that Abraham journeyed to was the land of Canaan. What is most interesting about this land was its strategic location, it was actually located in the center of the ancient world. To the north were the mighty nations of Greece and Rome, to the east was Babylon, Assyria, and Persia, and to the south was the land of Egypt. These were all the greatest kingdoms of the ancient world and Israel was right in the middle. According to the Old Testament this was God's plan, to place his holy Oracles (Romans 3:2), the Word of God, in the heart of the world to be a light to every nation. The Hebrews became so scorned throughout history that few people were unaware of the Hebrews and their God. Every nation worshiped many deities, yet the Hebrews worshipped one God, something that was unheard of and considered the epitome of foolishness. But the Bible reveals that the foolishness of God is wiser than any man, and it was exactly God's plan to raise up a nation that would be mocked and persecuted, just as their Messiah and Savior would be mocked and persecuted. The irony of it all is that the Jews were chosen by God to be a light to the whole world, a roadmap to the one true God, and yet would be the ones to hate him the most and force the hand of Rome to have him crucified. Yet there was always a remnant who understood the promises of the one true God.

"unto the Jews were committed the oracles of God" (Romans 3:2).

"But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn't believe in him" (John 12:37)

Also see Israel, the Center of the World

8. Isaiah Saw God on His Throne

The Old Testament reveals that when Isaiah was called by the LORD he had a vision of the throne of almighty God (Isaiah 6). He saw the LORD in all his glory high and lifted up and sitting on his throne. He saw angelic beings (Seraphim) surrounding the LORD and covered themselves shouting, "holy holy holy, the whole earth is full of his glory." Suddenly the Lord spoke and the foundation of the Temple shook as the smoke was filling the throne room. Isaiah was overwhelmed at the awesome presence of God and thinking he was going to perish, he cried out "woe is me for my eyes have seen the King." One of the Seraphim took a live coal and touched his lips and Isaiah began his powerful message as a prophet (mouthpiece) of the LORD. Isaiah saw the King, he saw God on his throne in all of his glory, yet what is most astonishing is that the Bible records that it was actually Jesus who Isaiah saw (John 12:41). Isaiah's message throughout the book that bears his name has been recognized as a message about Jesus Christ. Isaiah wrote the clearest and most powerful message of all the prophets about Jesus, so much so that many Jews have confused the Book of Isaiah with the New Testament. Isaiah saw the King of Glory, Jesus Christ and spoke of him as the Jewish Messiah who would come first as a lamb and die (Isaiah 53:7), and then come again as a king who would reign forevermore (Isaiah 40:10).

"Then I said, Woe is me! For I am undone... for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts!" (Isaiah 6:5)

"Isaiah said these things when he saw his glory, and spoke of him" (John 12:41)

"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

"Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him" (Isaiah 40:10)

"Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness" (Isaiah 32:1)

"And Jesus began to say unto them, This day is this scripture of Isaiah fulfilled in your ears." (Luke 4:16-21)

Also see Summary of the Book of Isaiah

9. The Scroll of Isaiah was found in Perfect Condition

Among the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 was found the "Scroll of Isaiah" inside of a clay jar and well preserved, dating to the 2nd century BC. The entire Hebrew text of the prophet Isaiah was found in "perfect" condition. When compared with the oldest biblical manuscript of Isaiah at the time (around 980 AD) it was astonishingly accurate. This is because of the arduous process of scribal transmission and the numbering of letters and words. Old Testament scholars are unanimous that the Scroll of Isaiah is "word for word identical" with the modern Hebrew text we have today except for minor variations in spelling. The Scroll of Isaiah was discovered at the city of Qumran in Cave 1 about 7 miles south of the city of Jericho. The discovery of the Scroll of Isaiah revealed that the many prophecies in the Old Testament book of Isaiah regarding Jesus Christ were written before the events actually happened.

"But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

"Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, "Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:16-21)

Also see Summary of the Book of Isaiah

10. Daniel Predicted the Empires of World History

Daniel was a Jewish prophet in the Old Testament famous for miraculously escaping the lions den. He was also famous for his ability to interpret dreams and predict the future. Daniel could be rightly called, "the Empire Predicting Prophet" because of his accuracy in predicting the 4 world empires of history, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Daniel was a Hebrew prophet who was captured and deported to the land of Babylon during the first Babylonian captivity in 607 BC. During this time King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a dream and God revealed to Daniel through this dream the empires that would rise to power in world history. At that time Babylon ruled the ancient world. Daniel saw in the dream that Babylon would be defeated by the Medes and the Persians, who would be the new rulers of the world. After this the king of Greece would come and conquer the world, like a leopard quickly springing upon its prey. Later God revealed to Daniel that the Romans would become the next rulers of the world. But there would not be another world empire until far in the future when a final world governing empire would rise that would be another Roman Empire, but different in that it would consist of ten kings, and then finally one king who would rise to power. This one king would be a man referred to in the Bible as the antichrist. All of this would take place in the final seven-year period known as the 70th week of Daniel, which ends with the coming of the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) to set up his kingdom. The dream revealed a small stone that crushed every kingdom and grew into a mountain that would fill the whole earth. According to Daniel the final world empire will be the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, "an everlasting kingdom, which will never be destroyed."

Also see Summary of the Book of Daniel