A Walk Through the Bible
Paul Holland - Swartz Creek, MI
A Walk Through the Bible
The story of the Bible, in one sentence, is: The salvation of man though Jesus Christ to the glory of God. That’s what the whole Bible is about.
We can divide the Bible history up into 15 periods, much like the face of the clock. When we understand this history, then we can see where each book of the Bible ties in with that history, where each book fits in.
“Ante” means “before” and “diluvian” refers to the “deluge” or the flood of Noah. So, the first period of Bible history refers to the first eight chapters of Genesis.
This is the story of the “beginning,” the meaning of the name “Genesis.” It is the beginning of the universe, of man, of the family, of sin, of worship.
This period is the immediate period just after the flood of Noah. Thus, it covers from chapters 9-11. It leads up to the call of Abraham.
The word “patriarch” is an old English word, based on two Greek words, that means the “rule of the father.” It refers to the period when God spoke directly to the fathers - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The word “patriarch” is a biblical word, being used 6 times in the NT.
The “patriarchal” period, in our survey, covers Genesis 11-45, and probably the book of Job.
The next period of Bible history picks up with Jacob going down into Egypt. It was there that the Hebrews became persecuted and enslaved by the Egyptians. They stayed in Egypt for about 200 years or so when God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
This period covers Genesis 46 - Exodus 14. Also, this was when the “Hebrews” started being referred to as the “Israelites” as a body of people, although the name was given to Jacob when he wrestled with the angel back in Genesis 32.
At Mount Sinai, God formed this group of people into a nation and gave them a law - the Law of Moses. It was primarily to keep them monotheistic so they would not lose their faith in the one true God. So, God has created a people, and a law, to bring Jesus into the world.
The fifth period of Bible history is when the Israelites wander around in the wilderness for forty years. The specific occasion for that is found in Numbers 13 & 14. Moses sent spies into the land of Canaan to spy out the land. They came back to Moses and 10 out of the 12 spies did not believe they could take the land. So, God punished them with 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. God chose 40 years because the spies had been in Canaan for 40 days.
The “wanderings” period would cover the rest of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
In order to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham to give his family some land, God led Joshua to lead the invasion of Canaan. This period is covered in the book of Joshua.
As the Israelites swarmed through the land and took possession of it, they did not drive out all of the unbelieving nations who lived there, as God had commanded them. So, these unbelieving nations caused spiritual problems for the Israelites.
“Judges” were not legal advisors as we use the term today. They were military leaders and some of them were spiritual leaders. The judges began “good:” Ehud, Gideon, and Deborah but with Jephthah, the judges started being more self-centered, culminating in Samson and civil war among the Israelite families.
Samuel was the last of the judges but he also anointed the first king of Israel.
UNITED KINGDOM PERIOD:
King Saul started out good and ended badly. King David was anointed next and he would be a good king even as he committed some major sins. David’s son, King Solomon, would be the last to rule and reign over a united nation of Israel.
Kings David & Solomon are dated around 1,000 B. C
DIVIDED KINGDOM PERIOD:
King Solomon raised taxes on Israel in order to pay for his building projects. When Solomon died, his son, King Rehoboam increased those taxes, which led to the nation splitting. Ten tribes united in the north, called Israel or Ephraim (after the largest tribe), with their capital in Samaria.
Two tribes - Judah and Benjamin - remained in the south and formed their own nation of Judah. Their capital remained in Jerusalem, the city of David.
Eventually, because of idolatry (not one king in the north is described as following the ways of God), they were defeated by the Assyrian nation in 722 B. C. and led into captivity. The Assyrians moved non-Israelites into that land and they intermarried with Israelites which produced the Samaritans.
This history is covered in 1 & 2 Kings. The prophets who preached during this period of time are: Isaiah, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Jonah, and Micah.
After the northern tribes were carried into exile, the southern tribes remained alone for about 136 years before they, too, were carried into exile by another nation - Babylon. This happened in 586 B. C.
We read about this in 2 Kings as well as the parallel accounts in 2 Chronicles. The prophets who preached during this period of time are: Jeremiah (Lamentations), Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah.
The prophet Jeremiah predicted that the Jews would stay in captivity in Babylon for 70 years. So, the next period of Bible history is the time Israel spent in captivity there in Babylon.
Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel preached during this period of time.
God promised He would bring the Jews back home at the appropriate time and that period is called the period of restoration. It happened around 520-516 B. C. under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah.
This period is covered by the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther and the corresponding preachers are: Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
The story of Esther, in particular, takes place in Persia. Persia is the country that takes over the Babylonian Empire and their leader, Cyrus, allows the Israelites to go home.
There is a four-hundred year gap in-between the Old Testament and the New Testament. During this period of time, Persia falls to Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great and the Greek Empire and the Greek language and culture spreads throughout the Mediterranean world.
But then the Greeks are conquered and dominated by the Roman Empire and this empire ushers in the Pax Romana we’ve heard about in history. The Romans create paved roads; they spread laws throughout the land that helps create peace; and they devise a very efficient postal system. All of these points help create the ideal atmosphere in which God, the Father, will send His Son into the world to die for our sins.
In fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament, Jesus comes into the world, to save man from his sins, to the glory of God.
LIFE OF CHRIST PERIOD:
Jesus lived for 30-33 years. Everything was in place for His coming: the people (Israel) were established; the law (of Moses) was given; and the land was available for their habitation (Palestine).
Jesus did what the Father wanted Him to do. Then, He died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead for our justification, and then ascended back to the Father.
THE CHURCH/KINGDOM PERIOD:
But Jesus promised to build His church (or kingdom as it was pictured in the OT) and that church/kingdom was established by the apostles on the Day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2. From that time until Jesus comes again, we are living in the age of the church/kingdom. There will not be another period following this one once Jesus comes again.
It is important to know Bible history so that we can see God working, have confidence in His message, and respond to Him in love and obedience.