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. We looked at eight of those periods yesterday.
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.