Welcome to the Old Testament by Brother Van Sweden

Introduction to the Old Testament
The title of this work is “Simplifying the Old Testament through Scripture and Commentary.” It is a work that began when I was first asked to teach a class of adults on the Old Testament many years ago. At the time, I was reluctant to accept the responsibility as I was least familiar with the contents of the Old Testament. I had various reasons for not studying the Old Testament. Some included: (1) It was written about a people whose culture and language was difficult for me to understand; (2) It was written so long ago, I felt that it had little or no relevance to my current life, and (3) It seemed to portray God as angry and vindictive as opposed to the merciful God I found and came to love in the New Testament.
Fortunately for me, I did accept the opportunity to teach the class and because I knew so little about the contents of the Old Testament, I made its study a priority. I determined that at a minimum I needed to know more about the Old Testament than those I was teaching. I needed to be able to at least answer some of their questions and even more importantly to know when a concept or opinion was inaccurate. As a result, I prepared more material for each lesson, more than I could have ever taught in the forty-five minute class period, much, much more.
As the years passed and my life changed, I found myself drawn again to my former notes on the Old Testament. I decided at that time to rewrite my notes. My focus would be upon simplifying or clarifying the various chapters and highlighting the important concepts taught in each chapter. It has been an extremely positive experience for me. I came to see the role of the LORD of the Old Testament and his infinite caring and patience with the children of Israel and each of us. It became clear to me that the LORD of the Old Testament was the pre-mortal Christ of the New Testament. It was Jesus Christ, acting under the direction of His Father, who called, taught and directed each of the Holy Prophets in the Old Testament and the messages they taught.
I came also to understand that the children of Israel were just like me in many regards. Their joys and challenge though different also had many similarities with mine. As I read of their experiences, I felt as if they had much to teach me about being obedient to the Lord while also living in a world that increasingly did not know the Lord or did not value His directives. Through my understanding of the Old Testament, I became concerned regarding the direction our world is heading, but I believe, can yet be changed.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe in God the Eternal Father and that I am one of his spirit children. I believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and I am so grateful for His Atonement and His love for each of us. I believe that today the Lord still speaks to us through His modern prophets just as He did in the past. I believe in the importance of faith, works and grace and that each concept has an important part in our achieving eternal salvation. I personally extend to you the invitation to read this material with an open mind, even knowing before hand, that for some of you this will be a venture from a different perspective.
Like all contributions, I alone am responsible for this work. This is a private endeavor and not a production of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have provided extensive references as indicated and encourage you to consult them if you have the desire. It is my hope that any errors you find, you will feel free to contact me at www.Scriptures101.com. It is my express desire that my errors do not distract from your having a positive experience with the teachings found in the Old Testament. May I welcome you to Scriptures 101/Old Testament.
Robert C. Van Sweden
November, 2012