This first lesson brings out the fact that Christianity is a religion rooted in history. It deals with real people who lived in a definite period of time, in a certain place; who said and did things that others remembered and of which they kept a record. In the words of the first Pope, "We do not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (II Peter 1:16).
That is what Salvation History is all about. It is about persons and places, words and events which are not "cleverly devised myths." It is about facts and not fiction.
There are four main persons treated in your first lesson. They are Abraham, Moses, and David in the Old Testament, and Jesus Christ, who as the natural Son of God-become-man brought the New and Eternal Testament into the world.
What you should keep in mind is that the history of salvation began after the fall of our first parents. No sooner had Adam and Even sinned, than God promised them and their descendants a Redeemer. After all, salvation means being saved from sin and its effects.
In one sense, therefore, Salvation History began immediately after the fall, and St. Luke traces the ancestry of the Savior back to Adam (Luke 3:23-38). However, God wanted mankind to be saved through a specially Chosen People who descended from Abraham, which is why St. Matthew traces the ancestry of Jesus back to Abraham (Matthew 1:2-16).
The main focus of this first lesson is to see two things: that Jesus Christ is truly the Messiah who had been foretold for centuries in Israel; and that the Catholic Church is the Messianic Kingdom predicted by the prophets.
Cultivate the habit of often using the name "Jesus" in silent prayer. When you get up in the morning and retire at night, invoke His Holy Name. And during the day, learn to associate whatever you are doing with a moment's prayerful aspiration, pronouncing the word "Jesus."
If you do this, you will not only grow in your belief that Jesus is indeed God who became man, you will experience the spiritual power that is available to those who call upon Him in faith.
1. Chosen People: The descendants of Abraham. Also called Israelites, after Israel, the name given to Jacob; and Jews, after Judah, the fourth son of Jacob and ancestor of Jesus.
2. Covenant: Sacred agreement between God and His Chosen People.
3. Decalogue: The Ten Commandments.
4. Gospel: The Good News, proclaimed by the angels to the shepherds at Bethlehem; also one of the four narratives of Christ's life by the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
5. Gospel Genealogy: List of the ancestors of Christ, starting with Abraham in St. Matthew's Gospel, and with Adam in the Gospel of St. Luke.
6. Jesus Christ: Combination of two names taken from two languages. "Jesus" is the Hebrew for Savior, and "Christ" is the Greek for the Anointed One.
7. Manna: The food miraculously provided for the Jews in the desert during their years of travel from Egypt to the Promised Land.
8. Mediator: One who mediates between two contending parties in order to reunite them. Christ is the one who reunited a sinful human race with His heavenly Father.
9. Monotheist: A believer in one personal God, unlike a polytheist who believes there are many gods.
10. Parable: A story based on human experience to teach a spiritual truth. It was Christ's favorite means of instructing the people.
11. Patriarch: One of the three original leaders of the Chosen People, namely Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, from whom was descended Jesus Christ.
12. Plague: One of ten punishments sent by God to persuade the Pharaoh to let Moses lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.
13. Promised Land: The territory in Asia Minor which God promised the Jews after their liberation from Egypt. It took them forty years to make the journey, called the "Exodus" or "going out."
14. Salvation History: The history of the salvation of the human race, beginning with God's promise of a Redeemer (Genesis 3) and continuing to the end of the apostolic age, or the death of the Apostle St. John.
1. Indicate whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F).
_____1. At the beginning of the human race, people believed in many gods.
_____2. The most extensive and ancient records of religious belief are found in the Pyramid Texts of Egypt.
_____3. Abraham's original name was Abram.
_____4. Moses was the ancestor of Jesus.
_____5. God made a special covenant with Abraham but not with Moses.
_____6. Jesus is a direct descendant of Moses.
_____7. Both Mary and Joseph were of the family of David.
_____8. The Church was born on Calvary.
_____9. All the graces that everyone receives come through the Catholic Church.
____10. All the parables of Christ somehow pertain to the Kingdom.
____11. The Church is not a visible society.
____12. The Church is not an institution.
____13. The Catholic Church is the divinely established Teacher of the Truth to all nations.
____14. Jesus told the Apostle Philip, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life."
____15. Christ instituted only the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. The other five sacraments were instituted by the Church.
II. Choose the term which best completes each statement.
____16. The most ancient religion of which we have extensive historical record is the 1) Assyrian, 2) Babylonian, 3) Egyptian.
____17. Before he was called by God, Abraham was 1) Monotheist, 2) Polytheist, 3) Theist.
____18. Jacob was the son of 1) Isaac and Rachel, 2) Abraham and Sarah, 3) Isaac and Rebekah.
____19. The three Hebrew Patriarchs were 1) Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac, 2) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 3) Jacob, Abraham, and Isaac.
____20. Israel was the name given by God to 1) Isaac, 2) Abraham, 3) Jacob.
____21. The one who brought his father and brothers into Egypt was 1) Joseph, 2) Jacob, 3) Judah.
____22. Moses was of the tribe of 1) Benjamin, 2) Levi, 3) Joseph.
____23. The Ten Commandments were given to Moses 1) before the Exodus, 2) during the Exodus, 3) After the Exodusfrom Egypt to the Promised Land.
____24. The Ten Commandments are found in 1) Exodus, 2) Deuteronomy, 3) Exodus and Deuteronomy.
____25. The miraculous passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea was a baptism in 1) Abraham, 2) Israel, 3) Moses.
____26. The New Testament means the 1) New Dispensation, 2) New Covenant, 3) New Law.
____27. St. Matthew traces the ancestry of Jesus Christ to 1) Abraham, 2) Abraham and David, 3) Adam.
____28. The name "Jesus" means 1) Messiah, 2) Savior, 3) Anointed One.
____29. Through the Church which He founded, Christ communicates 1) truth, 2) truth and grace, 3)grace...to the whole human race.
____30. The Beatitudes are found in the Gospel of 1) St. Matthew, 2) St. Luke, 3) St. Matthew and St. Luke.
|III. Match the terms in the following columns.|
|___31. Abraham||31. Abraham's son and ancestor of Jesus|
|___32. Israel||32. Anointed One (Hebrew)|
|___33. Ten Commandments||33. Call of Abraham|
|___34. Judah||34. The Catholic Church|
|___35. David||35. Abram|
|___36. Messiah||36. Jacob's son and ancestor of Jesus|
|___37. Isaac||37. Savior|
|___38. Jesus||38. Jacob|
|___39. Lord's Prayer||39. Mount Sinai|
|___40. Christ||40. Royal ancestor of Jesus|
|___41. Genesis||41. Anointed One (Greek)|
|___42. Christ, the Truth||42. The Eucharist|
|___43. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob||43. Our Father|
|___44. Manna||44. Hebrew Patriarchs|
|___45. Community of faith hope and charity||45. Apostles' Creed|