church. - Midwest Theological Forum

God Prepares the Way for
His Church in
the Old Testament
The student will be able to understand:
• The Church as present in
creation from the beginning
• God’s creative act
• Man’s vocation
• God’s covenants in the history
of salvation
• The covenant with Adam
• Original Sin and
the Protoevangelium
• The covenant with Noah
• God’s covenant with Abraham
• Isaac as a type of Christ
• What God did for Israel
through Moses
• The pattern of Jewish history
before the kingship
• David’s kingdom
• The Davidic covenant
• Israel’s history after David
• Man’s vocation is to live in truth and holiness
as a son of God with dominion over creation.
• After the fall of man, God prepared the restoration of the
human family through progressive covenants with Adam,
Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David.
• These covenants paved the way for Christ and
his Church.
• Why were we created?
• How did God prepare his people for the Church?
• How was the Church foreshadowed in the
Old Testament?
• What is the meaning of covenant?
• What covenants did God establish with the Israelites?
• What were the primary features of the Old Testament Covenant,
and how did these features point the way to the New Covenant?
Based on the six questions listed under
“In this chapter” (p. 3), write on the one
with which you are most familiar.
- Lesson Objectives • The Church as present in creation from the beginning
• God’s creative act
• Man’s vocation
- Basic Questions -
Why do we go back to God’s creative act to
understand the Church?
Because God had the Church in mind from all eternity
and gradually unfolded her meaning,
it is necessary to study God’s plan for creation
from the beginning.
- Basic Questions -
What does the creation account in Genesis tell us
about creation and man’s place in it?
God created the universe as a perfect work with man as
its pinnacle, creating him in God’s own image.
- Basic Questions -
What is man’s original vocation in relationship
to God?
Man’s primeval vocation is communion with God in a
filial relationship.
- Focus Question -
What are the stages of the gradual unfolding of
God’s plan of salvation?
God established covenants with his people and revealed
his moral law to prepare for the coming of the Savior,
then he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to reveal the fullness
of truth and reconcile God and man through the
Cross. This mission is continued by the Church.
- Focus Question -
What was God’s plan for humanity from
all eternity?
To draw all people into communion with himself.
- Focus Question -
How did God react to Original Sin?
He promised a redeemer.
- Focus Question -
How do Christ and the Church relate to
this promise?
Christ is the promised Redeemer and the Church
is Christ’s instrument.
- Focus Question -
What are some of the names of the Church?
The Family of God, the People of God, the Mystical
Body of Christ, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Temple
of the Holy Spirit, the Bride of Christ, and the
Sacrament of Salvation.
- Focus Question -
What makes the Church entirely
Apart from her communion in Christ and her
intimate sharing in the Divine Life of the
Blessed Trinity, the Church has no life.
- Focus Question -
What are the two natures of the Church?
The Church is a divine institution as the Mystical Body
of Christ. She is also a human institution,
incorporating men into herself through Baptism.
- Focus Question -
How did God bring creation into being?
He created by the power of his Word.
- Focus Question -
In Sacred Scripture, what does the number three
It signifies perfection or completeness.
- Focus Question -
Why does the creation story divide the act
of creation into two corresponding threeday periods?
It is a way of saying that the act of creation was
complete and perfect.
- Focus Question -
What forms are created on the first three days?
God created (1) day and night, (2) sky and sea, and
(3) dry land and plants.
- Focus Question -
What rules over day and night?
The sun and moon.
- Focus Question -
What rules over the sky and sea?
Birds and fish.
- Focus Question -
What rules over dry land and plants?
Animals and man.
- Focus Question -
What rules over everything in creation?
- Graphic Organizer Complete the following table to better see the structure
of the creation story in Genesis.
Creation of
Creation of Life to Rule over
- Guided Exercise -
Create a bullet-point list of ideas that
“created in the image of God” means.
- Focus Question -
According to CCC 1, why did God
create man?
To make him share in God’s own blessed life.
- Focus Question -
What does “image and likeness” mean when it is
used in relation to Seth?
Seth received his nature from Adam his father.
- Focus Question -
What does this tell us “image and likeness” means
in relation to Adam?
Adam received his nature from God. Unlike the rest
of creation, Adam was a beloved son of the Father.
- Lesson Objectives -
• God’s covenants in the history of salvation
• The covenant with Adam
• Original Sin and the Protoevangelium
• The covenant with Noah
- Basic Questions -
What is a covenant?
God prepared people for the advent of the Church
through salvation history, a series of progressive
covenants, or solemn agreements, between God and men.
The covenants were with Adam, Noah, Abraham,
Moses, and David.
- Basic Questions -
What was the covenant with Adam?
The covenant with Adam was for man to live in
communion with God, other persons, and all of
creation. Man was to enjoy dominion over creation.
- Basic Questions -
What are Original Sin and the Protoevangelium?
Adam and Eve broke the original covenant and brought
the consequences of Original Sin into the world, yet God
immediately promised a future savior.
- Basic Questions -
What was the covenant with Noah?
God made a second covenant with Noah, after he
cleansed the world of wicked humanity, not to again
destroy the world by flood.
- Guided Exercise -
Conduct a think/pair/share
using the following question:
Does human history confirm what Genesis says, that man
has dominion over every created thing on earth?
- Guided Exercise -
Complete a focused reading on the paragraphs
beginning, “One of St. Irenæus’…”
and “St. Irenæus taught…” (p. 7)
using the following question:
What was the main idea of
St. Irenæus’s teachings on covenants?
- Focus Question -
From whom did St. Irenaeus receive his Christian
He learned from the future martyr St. Polycarp, a
disciple of the Apostle John.
- Focus Question -
How did someone in present-day Turkey become
the bishop of what is now a French city?
St. Irenaeus went to Lyons as a missionary and was
made bishop after the Roman emperor Marcus
Aurelius martyred Lyons’s first bishop.
- Focus Question -
What was the first Sabbath, or day of rest?
The seventh day of creation, when, according to Genesis,
God rested, blessing this day and making it holy.
- Focus Question -
What is God’s covenant with creation?
God made a covenant with all of creation and specifically
with mankind; God gave himself as a Father to Adam,
and Adam, in turn, was made to give of himself,
through his obedience as a son, back to God.
- Focus Question -
What is salvation history?
It is the biblical record of how God’s plan of
redemption in Christ has unfolded.
- Focus Question -
How does the idea of covenant relate to
salvation history?
Salvation history can be seen as a series of covenants
between God and man.
- Focus Question -
What is a covenant?
It is a solemn agreement between God and man—an
agreement that involves mutual commitments and promises.
- Focus Question -
What are the covenants in salvation history which
prepare God’s people for the New and
Everlasting Covenant in Christ Jesus?
The covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham,
Moses, and David.
- Focus Question -
Why was the Sabbath created?
God rested on the seventh day, so man must rest from
labor (cf. CCC 2172).
God created the Sabbath to remind all people they are
created out of God’s love so as to enter into
communion with him.
- Focus Question -
Why did the people of Israel keep the Sabbath?
It was God’s command and a sign of their
covenant with God who created in six days and
rested on the seventh.
- Focus Question -
How do Christians observe the Sabbath?
By prayer and worship of God on the Lord’s Day.
- Focus Question -
What tasks did God give Adam?
Adam was to work, worship, and be fruitful
and multiply.
- Focus Question -
Does “till” and “keep” refer only to
manual labor?
No. It also refers to the ministry of priests in the
sanctuary of the Temple. By extension, this
means that as a son of God, Adam’s
responsibility was to exercise dominion over
creation and to strive for holiness.
- Focus Question -
What was the original meaning of creation for
man and woman?
Creation was a setting, designed by God, where
everything was good and man and woman could know
God and live in his presence.
- Focus Question -
What was the command God gave Adam
and Eve?
They were forbidden to eat the fruit from the Tree of the
Knowledge of Good and Evil under penalty of death.
- Focus Question -
What did the serpent tell Eve would happen if
she ate the fruit?
She would not die, but her eyes would be opened, and
she would be like God, knowing good and evil.
- Focus Question -
What death did Adam and Eve suffer when they
They suffered a spiritual death. This was eventually
followed by a physical death.
- Focus Question -
What did Adam and Eve lose?
They lost supernatural life, communion with God,
and communion with the natural order (i.e., with
each other and the rest of creation).
- Focus Question -
What effect did the sin of Adam and Eve have on
their descendants?
Their descendants have lost communion with God
and the natural order, and they inherit the tendency
to sin (concupiscence).
The grace God gives through the Church restores communion
and strengthens the People of God against sin.
- Guided Exercise -
Conduct a think/pair/share
using the following question:
How does the serpent in Genesis illustrate what
Jesus said about the Devil, that he is “the father
of lies” and “a murderer from the beginning”?
- Focus Question -
What is the Protoevangelium, or the “First Gospel”?
It is the announcement, made by God after the fall of
Adam and Eve, of the Redeemer, of a battle between
the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of
her descendant.
- Focus Question -
How did Original Sin affect the first two children
of Adam and Eve?
Their firstborn son Cain murdered their
secondborn Abel.
- Focus Question -
How were the lines of Cain and Seth different?
Cain’s descendants were notoriously wicked, while Seth’s
descendants were more faithful to God.
- Focus Question -
What was the second covenant?
God’s covenant with Noah was to never again destroy
the human race from a deluge.
- Lesson Objectives -
• God’s covenant with Abraham
• Isaac as a type of Christ
- Basic Questions -
What was God’s covenant with Abraham?
God made a covenant with Abraham that would make
him the father of a nation and told him that through him
all the nations would be blessed. In his trust in God’s
seemingly impossible promises, Abraham became the
father of all who have faith.
- Basic Questions -
How is Isaac a foreshadowing of Christ?
Abraham’s son, Isaac, is a type of Christ in his sacrifice
on the mountain.
- Graphic Organizer Complete the following table to see clearly God’s three
promises to Abram.
A Land
and a Nation
A Kingship
and Name
A Blessing
for All Nations
Biblical Language
- Focus Question -
What is the difference between remote and
immediate preparation?
Preparation by definition comes before an act. Remote
preparation comes earlier than immediate preparation
and may be less directly connected to the act.
- Focus Question -
Was Abraham a solitary individual?
No. He was the leader of a tribe of possibly three
thousand people.
- Focus Question -
What was Abraham’s problem in terms
of inheritance?
He was an old man and had never had any
children; therefore, he had no one to whom he could
pass on his inheritance.
- Focus Question -
How did Abram respond to God’s promises?
Abram believed what God promised, despite the fact
that his wife had never been able to conceive a child, and
left his homeland with his household.
- Focus Question -
What was the problem when Abram arrived in
the land God promised him and his descendants?
It was already occupied by the Canaanites.
- Focus Question -
What is the good and bad news which
God gave Abram about the history of
his descendants?
They would be enslaved and oppressed for four
hundred years; the nation that did that to them
would be judged by God; Abram’s descendants
would leave that land with great possessions; and
after that they would possess Canaan.
- Focus Question -
What promises did God make with Abram almost
twenty-five years later?
God gave Abram a new name, Abraham, and
promised that he and his wife would have a son of their
own. God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham.
Through his son, Isaac, Abraham would be the father
of a multitude of nations.
- Focus Question -
What is a particular sign of the covenant
with Abraham?
- Focus Question -
Why was God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah
seemingly impossible?
Both of them were almost a hundred years old.
- Focus Question -
How did God test Abraham’s obedience once
Isaac was born and became a young man?
God told Abraham to sacrifice his son.
- Focus Question -
How did Abraham respond to God’s request?
He trusted God completely and set out to obey him.
- Focus Question -
How do we know Isaac also trusted in God?
Isaac was strong enough to carry the wood for the
sacrifice and his father was old. Isaac could have
resisted, but instead he let his father bind him.
- Focus Question -
How did Abraham’s seemingly false statement,
“God will provide himself the lamb” for the
sacrifice, come true?
An angel intervened, stopping Abraham from sacrificing
Isaac, and pointing out a ram that was caught by its
horns in a thicket which Abraham was to offer. Also,
God provided us with a perfect sacrifice when he sent his
own Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross for our sins.
- Guided Exercise -
Write about how Isaac is a type, or figure,
of Christ based on the sidebar on Isaac and Christ
and other information in this lesson.
How is the biblical pattern of forty repeated with
Christ and his Apostles after the Resurrection?
- Focus Question -
How do Christians understand the sacrifice
of Isaac?
It is a foreshadowing or “type” of the sacrifice
of Christ on the Cross.
- Focus Question -
How was God’s covenant promise that all the
nations of the world would be blessed through
Abraham fulfilled?
It was partially realized by the people of Israel, who
were called by God to be a light to the nations, and
completely fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ.
- Focus Question -
Why is Abraham called “the father of all
who believe?
Because of his faith in God’s promises to him.
- Lesson Objectives -
• What God did for Israel through Moses
- Basic Questions -
What did God do for Israel through Moses?
God, revealed himself to Moses and, through Moses, to
Israel. God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt and
created a covenant with them, giving them the Law.
- Focus Question -
Why did the Egyptian pharaoh turn against the
descendants of Abraham?
They had grown so numerous he was afraid they would
rebel and conquer Egypt.
- Focus Question -
What measures did Pharaoh impose to control
the population of the Israelites?
He enslaved them and decreed infanticide against all
male Israelite children.
- Focus Question -
How was the baby Moses saved from death?
His mother set him afloat in the Nile in a reed basket,
where he was found and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter
with his real mother acting as his wet nurse.
- Focus Question -
How was Moses raised as both an Egyptian
and a Jew?
Pharaoh’s daughter raised Moses in the Royal
Egyptian court and his mother secretly instructed
him in the faith of his ancestors.
- Focus Question -
Why did Moses run away from Egypt?
Moses killed an Egyptian taskmaster who was abusing
a Jew. He fled to Midian after he learned that his deed
was known.
- Focus Question -
What vocation did God give Moses when he
was eighty years old?
God appeared to him in a burning bush and told him
to return to Egypt and to tell Pharaoh to release the
people of Israel.
- Focus Question -
What did God call Israel in his message
to Pharaoh?
His firstborn son.
- Focus Question -
Why did God order Israel to repeat the Passover
feast each year?
So they would always remember how God had saved
his people from oppression in Egypt.
- Focus Question -
How did God fulfill his prophecy to Abraham
about his descendants’ enslavement?
Israel was, in fact, enslaved in a foreign land for a
period of four hundred years, and they did leave enriched
when God brought judgment on their oppressors.
- Focus Question -
What does exodus mean?
It refers to Israel’s going out of Egypt.
- Focus Question -
How did God care for Israel in the desert?
He gave them water from a dry rock to drink and
manna, a wafer-like bread, from the sky.
- Graphic Organizer -
Complete the following table to summarize what God’s
Revelation of his name to Moses tells us about God.
God is a Person
God is existence itself
- Focus Question -
With what did God threaten Pharaoh, if he did
not release Israel?
He threatened to slay Pharaoh’s firstborn son.
- Focus Question -
How did God fulfill this warning?
He sent ten plagues, the last one killing every firstborn
Egyptian son.
- Focus Question -
How did Israel escape the “passing over” of the
angel of death?
The Chosen People followed God’s instructions to
take a young lamb, without any blemish or broken
bones, and to sacrifice it, eating the flesh and brushing
some of its blood on their lintels and doorposts.
- Focus Question -
Where did God make a covenant with Israel?
At Mt. Sinai.
- Focus Question -
What covenant did God make with Israel?
Israel would be God’s own possession among all the
people of the earth and would be a kingdom of priests
and a holy nation that would bring salvation to the
whole world.
- Focus Question -
What were the conditions of the covenant?
Israel was to keep the Law that God gave them—the
Ten Commandments.
- Focus Question -
How did Israel respond to the offer of a
new covenant?
They said yes; “all that the Lord has spoken we will do,
and we will be obedient” (Ex 24:7).
- Focus Question -
What is the connection between the assembly of
Israel and the Church?
The Hebrew word for the entire assembly of Israelites is
qahal. Its Greek translation is ekklesia, which is
translated “church.”
- Guided Exercise -
Conduct a think/pair/share
using the following question:
What was the Tabernacle and its contents?
- Guided Exercise -
Write about the parallels between Israel’s
and Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
- Focus Question -
What absurd demand does Israel make of Aaron
when Moses is up on the mountain?
They asked Aaron to make them a god,
which he did.
- Focus Question -
What did Moses do when he saw the Israelites
committing idolatry?
He was furious and shattered the stone tablets
containing the Law.
- Focus Question -
What happened to the common priesthood
of Israel?
God established an order of priests, the Levites, to
take the place of the common priesthood.
- Focus Question -
What happened to the Law that God gave
to Israel?
It stayed in effect, but because Israel had shown that
they could not overcome the temptation to worship pagan
gods, they were given a second set of laws—found in the
Book of Deuteronomy—intended to keep Israel
separate from the other nations.
- Lesson Objectives -
• The pattern of Jewish history before the kingship
• David’s kingdom
• The Davidic covenant
• Israel’s history after David
- Basic Questions -
What was the pattern of Jewish history before the
kingdom was established?
The pattern of Jewish history from the entry into the
Promised Land up to the time of David was a vicious
cycle of faithfulness to God followed by a turn to idolatry.
- Basic Questions -
What was the Davidic kingdom?
David established Israel as a kingdom with Jerusalem
as its political and religious capital.
- Basic Questions -
What were the features of the covenant
with David?
God established an everlasting covenant with David
and his descendants.
- Basic Questions -
What was Israel’s history after David?
After Solomon’s reign, Israel eventually disintegrated
and suffered a period of exile as it awaited the
fulfillment of the Davidic covenant.
- Focus Question -
Why did Israel spend forty years wandering in
the desert?
It was a punishment for their disobedience over the
golden calf.
- Focus Question -
How did Joshua become the leader of Israel?
Moses chose him and laid his hands on him to make
him his successor.
- Focus Question -
What did Israel do under Joshua’s leadership?
They conquered much of the Promised Land.
- Focus Question -
What was the pattern of Jewish history for the
next few centuries?
It was a vicious cycle of faithfulness, followed by
idolatry and anarchy. God would send judges to return
his people to righteousness. They would enjoy a period
of order and prosperity and then would turn away once
again to idols.
- Focus Question -
Why did the Israelites continue to fall away from
the Law of God?
They were attracted to the customs and idols of
neighboring nations and longed for the power, wealth,
and stability that other nations enjoyed.
- Focus Question -
How was the role of the king in Israel unique?
God was always to be the true king of Israel.
- Focus Question -
Why did Samuel pour oil on Saul’s head?
This action, previously reserved for the ordination of
priests, declared Saul to be God’s chosen king.
- Focus Question -
How does anointing relate to the messiah?
Oil was a visible sign of consecration. The word
“anointed one” is “messiah” in Hebrew, or “christ” in
Greek. The messiah was to be the one chosen by God to
be the leader and savior of his people.
- Guided Exercise -
Perform a paragraph shrink on the paragraph
beginning, “Where Israel had failed…” (p. 22).
- Focus Question -
Who was the second king of Israel?
- Focus Question -
What happened to the young man David after
Samuel had anointed him?
“The spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David
from that day forward” (1 Sm 16:13).
- Focus Question -
What were the two major difficulties facing the
people of Israel in David’s time?
From within, Israel was disunified, constantly getting
into disputes, some of which blew up into full-scale civil
wars. From without, Israel faced political and moral
threats from their pagan neighbors.
- Focus Question -
Why did David choose Jerusalem to be his new
In order to preserve the kingdom’s fragile unity—as
well as to prove that he was not playing favorites among
the tribes—he moved his capital to Jerusalem, a city
near the center of Israel that none of the tribes had
claimed as its own.
- Focus Question -
Why did David move the Ark of the Covenant
to Jerusalem?
He wanted Jerusalem to be the religious as well as
political capital for Israel.
- Graphic Organizer Complete the following table to record the three additional
features of the Davidic Covenant.
Queen Mother
Prime minister
Thank offering
- Focus Question -
How did David act as a priest when the Ark was
moved to Jerusalem?
He wore the robes of a priest, led the procession of the
Levites carrying the Ark into the city, offered the
sacrifices himself, and established the thank offering.
- Focus Question -
What was the thank offering?
It was a sacrifice that included unleavened bread and
wine and was made in gratitude for God’s deliverance.
It would become the primary worship in the Temple.
- Focus Question -
How was David’s sonship with God different
from Israel’s as a whole?
Israel would receive the blessings of the covenant if
they were obedient; David’s promise was
unconditional and permanent.
- Graphic Organizer Complete the following table to record the primary features
of the Davidic Covenant.
Son of God
Unlimited and Everlasting
Jerusalem and Mt. Zion
- Focus Question -
How did David’s kingdom become glorious
under Solomon?
Solomon built a magnificent Temple, and ruled over a
kingdom with which neighboring nations aligned.
Jerusalem became a place of pilgrimage to worship the
one true God.
- Focus Question -
How did Solomon go wrong?
He disobeyed the laws of Moses that governed
kingship. He also took hundreds of wives and
concubines from other nations and allowed them to
turn him toward idolatry.
- Focus Question -
What was the fate of the Davidic kingdom?
It was divided and eventually destroyed by the
Assyrians and the Babylonians.
- Focus Question -
What promises seemed destroyed?
The restoration of Israel as a priestly nation and the
fulfillment of the promise to Abraham of a worldwide
blessing through his descendants.
- Focus Question -
How were exile and the prophets beneficial
for Israel?
The prophets called Israel back to God, while exile
helped deepen the faith of the nation and solidified their
hope in God’s promise of an everlasting kingdom.