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Prepared by: Richard G.

Pazcoguin UST-IR

Amidst toil and lifes meaninglessness

Read the last chapters of Genesis and find out how the Israelites ended up living in Egypt. At first the Israelites lived as free men in Egypt. This was because Egypt was ruled by a Semitic family. After a while, this dynasty was overthrown, and the Israelites became slaves. The Israelites were treated harshly by the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh feared the implications of the rapidly increasing number of the Israelites in Egypt because: The Israelites were consuming much of Egypts resources. If they continue to grow in number, the Israelites might over-throw the government through an uprising. To arrest this, the Pharaoh intensified the labor that the Israelites had to do, and even ordered the midwives to kill the newborn male babies.

A Foretaste of Gods saving power

Read Exodus 1-15 This was the opportune time for God to manifest His love for his chosen people. Through some providential event, he caused Moses to be part of Egypts royal family, and eventually appointed him as liberator of the Israelites. The Exodus experience was a manifestation of Gods saving power. Through this event, Israel learned that the God of their fathers was deeply in love with them and was willing to do great things for them. The Exodus was the central event of the Old Testament. This was the even that they concretely understood how God is SAVIOR.

Gods pledge of love

Read Exodus 19-25


Having been delivered by God from slavery in Egypt The chosen people vowed to worship and serve God alone. On His part, God will made Israel his special possession, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. On their end, the Israelites promised to keep Gods law. The law of the covenant was the DECALOGUE of the TEN COMMANDMENTS. The Lord promised bountiful rewards to those who are faithful to the covenant. But those who are unfaithful would have to face the consequences of their actions.

Being spared from the Pharaohs decree that newborn males were to be killed, Moses prefigured what was to happen to Jesus: Jesus himself was spared from the decree of King Herod to kill the male infants. Moses liberated the Israelites from Egypt, Jesus saved the world from sins. Moses gave the Old Law- the Decalogue. Jesus gave the New Lawthe Beatitudes and the Law of Love. Moses mediation between God and the Israelites prefigured what Jesus Christ was to do reconcile the world once and for all with God.

A broken vow

Countless times after the Israelites avowed to worship alone the One True God, they fell into idolatry. Often they envied the pagans who wee much prosperous that they were, and so they began to worship the pagan gods. But idolatry was not without a price. Throughout their history as a nation, Israel often suffered foreign assault. In the promised land, there was always the threat of the attack of the Midianites and eventually the Philistines. Again, God proved to be a faithful God, and once again manifested his saving power. The Lord delivered his people from foreign invaders by appointing the charismatic military leaders : the judges.

A royal priesthood, a holy nation

The Israelites thought that the reason behind their political and economic instability was the fact that they did not have a king. Upon the insistent demand of His people, God permitted the establishment of the monarchy.

The first king of Israel was Saul. At first he was a good king, but he got engrossed in wars at the expense of the nations welfare. This led to his eventual downfall. Israel considers David as the nations greatest king. His reign was the beginning of Israels golden age. Though he himself had fallen into a great sin, David humbled himself before the Lord, and because of this God loved David so much, and Israel was blessed through him.

David was from Bethlehem, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. David was a shepherd; Jesus is the Good Shepherd. David was Gods anointed, Jesus is the anointed one, the Christ. David defended Israel against the Philistines; Jesus defended humanity against the power of sin and death. David brought the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. David was the mind behind the construction of the temple of Jerusalem. Jesus was the mind behind the establishment of the Church. David was king of Israel; Jesus was King of the Jews, and eventually Universal King

The Fallen Kingdom

Davids successor was Solomon, who is known as the wise king. Unfortunately, this wise king was foolish in many ways. While Israel was generally prosperous during his reign, Solomon was engrossed in leisure and extravagance. He imposed high taxes on people. He was a womanizer. While his greatest achievement was the construction of the Temple of Jerusalem, Solomon also built shrines for pagan gods at the request of his pagan wives. The division of the kingdom after his reign was attributed by the Israelites to his sin.

After the death of King Solomon, Israels third king, the kingdom of Israel experienced political instability which led to a split. The kingdom was divided into two. The Northern Kingdom was called ISRAEL, and the Southern Kingdom came to be known as Judah. As a consequence of the division, the military forces weakened, making the two kingdoms prone to foreign invasion.

Since the legitimate King was in the South, Israel was politically unstable. There were internal rivalries its leaders resulting to changes in dynasty. Israel was eventually invaded by Assyria in 722 B.C.
In 587 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem (capital of the South). This is the period known as the Babylonian Exile. The temple and the entire city was reduced into rubbles. The elite of Israel were brought to Babylon to work, leaving behind those who were deemed useless. In 538 B.C., Babylon itself was invaded by Persia. Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews to go back to Judah and rebuild the temple and the city. For the Jews, this relative peace brought about by the benevolence of the Persian king, became a time to renew their covenant with God.

In 332 B.C., the Persian Rule ended with the coming of Alexander the Great. Alexander brought the Hellenic to Palestine. His reign was however shortlived since he died at the age of 33.

The successors of Alexander the Great were the Ptolemies of Egypt. Many Jews were exiled in Egypt. The Jews prospered under the Ptolemies, but they were imposed heavy taxes.

After the Ptolemies came the Syrian Seleucids. Antiochus Epiphanes was the worst of all conquerors. He attacked Jerusalem on a Sabbath, knowing that the people will not take arms on Sabbath Day. He abominated the temple by sacrificing a pig, he ordered the burning of Hebrew Scriptures, he forbade the practice of the Sabbath rest and of circumcision.

The Jews were infuriated and revolted against Antiochus. This rebellion is knows as the Maccabean Revolt (164163 B.C.), for it was lead by the Maccabean family. The Jews won this war, and as a result, they enjoyed one hundred years of independence. This quasi-self-rule ended in 63 B.C., when the Romans under General Pompey, invaded Palestine.

Through these years of oppression, the Israelites found exhortation in the words of the prophets who spoke about the coming of the Christ, Gods Anointed One, who will deliver Israel from captivity.
The chosen people patiently waited for the fulfillment of Gods promise of a Savior. We Christians believe that this savior is no one else but Jesus Christ. The Jews who refused to believe him are still waiting for the savior until now.

Click on the link below and learn about the different prophecies concerning the Messiah, and how these prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus

Isang dalagay maglilihi Batang lalake ang sanggol Tatawagin siyang Emmanuel, Emmanuel Magalak, isinilang ang Poon Sa sabsaban siyay nakahimlay Nagpahayag ang mga anghel Luwalhati sa Diyos!

Coda: Kahulugay nasa atin ang Diyos, Nasa atin ang Diyos! Nasa atin ang Diyos!

Fr. Luc Colla, CICM


Baguio City: St. Louis University, 1984 James Finley and Michael Pennock


Ind.: Ave Maria Press, 1977