The Bible is a Love Story from God to us. It was given to us in order to communicate with a world that is too lost and blind in their own sin to see or fellowship with God any other way; to show us God’s unbelievable Power, Creativity, Love and Desire for us through the revealing of His Creation; to show us His initial design and purpose for our lives with Him, before we turned from Him; to show us how to find our way back to Him again; to show us the absolute worth and importance He put on us through His passion and persistence to make a way back to Him; to show us how to really love; to show us what is to come in the future He made for us; to show us how we can live beautifully with purpose and excitement right now! It is a Love Story about a love rejected; a battle that lasts through the ages to restore the lost lover; a battle against the tempter who stole that beloved—at the cost of everything the rejected Lover has in His possession (His Creation, power, position and reputation, relationships, His Life) and the reunion with all forgiven and restored- a happily ever after! We shouldn’t just analyze, study and follow It; we need to see our place in Its pages and see our worth and future in the Eyes of the One who wrote It!
[A note of significance: In the ancient days, many people marked time by the number of years their king or leader had been in rule (Ex. "In the 260th year of Nebuchadnezzar"). The dates we will use while doing this walk-through come from the Gregorian Calendar we use today, which has been pretty much adopted by the international community, and is even used by the United Nations. It uses the Latin term, "Anno Domini" or AD, meaning "In the year of Our Lord", and BC, meaning, "Before Christ". Even those that wish to remain neutral from Christianity, and use CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before Common Era). They may exclude the labels, but they still recognize that we are living in the reign of our King Jesus Christ with every writing of the date.]
Creation: the first words of the Bible, and the story following telling us how God originally designed everything (Genesis 1-2) (4000BC): a perfect creation with harmony between all creatures; perfect circumstances of life and relationship with Him; bodies built for eternity, designed to renew and continue. The Fall: everything was made for us to rule over and enjoy with no limits (Genesis 3): there was just one little rule- literally- a simple, seemingly useless one: Don’t eat from the one tree (given simply to test our love for Him over self). Satan, knowing he couldn’t defeat God, used God’s own Righteousness and His one seeming ‘weakness’ against Him—he would cause those God loved most to turn against Him, breaking His heart and ruining His entire cosmic plan. Adam and Even were convinced that God was not giving them all they could have in life; they wanted the knowledge God had- (which was sin and rebellion)- and they lost fellowship with God. God gave His Beloved a choice to love or not to love and His Beloved had betrayed Him; but He would not rest until He found a way to make it right and restore His Beloved- starting over was never an option. The Promise of a Deliver, and the final results of the battle were predicted at that very moment: Genesis 3:15: talking of how Satan would cause great pain to Christ when stricken with our sin and crucified, but Jesus Christ would crush Satan’s head with His victory at Calvary. The Flood: from there Satan looked to stop the coming of the Messiah in any way he could (Genesis 6-9) (2348BC): though this story follows closely to the fall of man, it actually takes place after a time span of about 2000 years. The flood in Noah’s day came as a result of Satan trying to defile the entire bloodline of the human race thus blocking the entrance of God’s Son. Genesis 6:1-4: this caused God to take extreme and final action, wiping out all life on earth but for one untouched family. In this act, God had to purge the world of it’s overwhelming evil and cross-breeding in order to protect a path for bringing His Redeemer; or all was in danger of being lost within another generation. The Division: after the flood, God told Noah’s descendants to ‘increase in number and fill the earth’ (Genesis 8) (2234BC): but, in direct defiance the small but growing population of earth joined together and tried to build themselves up against God (Tower of Babel). Genesis 11:4: they tried to be proud and self-sufficient, and create the first One World Government and God had to break up their plans and force them to scatter as He commanded by confusing their languages and forcing them to diversify. Genesis 11:7-9. God Chose a People (Abraham): here is where we begin to see God focusing in on His long-term plan of salvation for all mankind (Genesis 12) (1996BC): as God chooses a lineage to bring out ‘His People’ for the plan; He called Abraham out of his country (Harran) to an unrevealed destination. Abraham must follow in faith; God asked him to sacrifice his only son, which was given to him miraculously, very late in life. God never intended to allow him to go through with it, but to test his love and faithfulness (was the son of promise) when Abraham was about to take his son’s life, an angel stepped in: Genesis 22:16-18. Abraham settles in the Land of Canaan, which would later be where God places His people; he has Isaac, who has Jacob, who is renamed by God as Israel because it would be through him that the Twelve Tribes of Israel would come (and ultimately the Messiah). Joseph (one of 12 sons, was sold into slavery by his envious brothers into Egypt and used by God to save his entire family and all of Egypt from famine and drought (Genesis 39) (1728BC). Jacob and his family went into Egypt for protection from the famine as a family of about 70 people at the end of Genesis. Egypt began to fear the Israelites because of their number and strength in the land, so they were enslaved for about 430 years (Exodus 1) (1630BC). God used Moses to bring them out of the land supernaturally against the Pharaoh’s will (Exodus 14-15) (1491BC) (ten plagues, Passover instituted, Crossing of Red Sea, destruction of Egyptian army…) The Israelites had gone into Egypt only 70 people strong and were brought out as a people of over 2 million. God used this time to grow His Nation; they were uneducated in governing themselves, had no military training and no land—they were totally dependent on God for all things. God Gives The Law: so God has now grown His people into a Nation, and He gives them His Laws (Exodus 20-23) (1490BC): to set them apart for Him from other nations and to teach them how to live and love. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, which are the foundation for a code of rules to follow; teaching the Israelites how to live, worship and sacrifice (basis for the Old Covenant). The Israelites, according to God’s design, make a Tabernacle where they may meet with Him and begin to worship as a Nation. Then, after all the have seen God do for them, they are scared to move into the land God promised them because of the great inhabitants that live there. A trip that should’ve taken less than two weeks became 40 years in the desert for the Israelites because of their refusal to obey (Numbers 32) (1490-1440BC). Of all of the original slaves freed from Egypt, only two were allowed to go into the Land God promised (Caleb & Joshua- for having faith); the rest died in the wilderness and their children were the ones to cross the Jordan. God Gives The Land: (Joshua 1-13) (1450-1443BC): leadership passes from Moses to Joshua before Moses dies in the desert, east of the Promised land. Joshua leads the Israelites on a military expedition to take their Promised Land from the heathen nations now inhabiting them, conquering 7 nations (31 cities) and establishing the Land given to Abraham before he and his family went to Egypt for safety from drought and never returned. Time of the Judges: (Judges 3) (1405BC): during this time in Israel, God had given His people all they needed to follow Him as a Nation: Judges 21:25: God didn’t want a King in Israel- He was their King. Israel was set up as a loose confederacy of nations which followed God’s Law and not a person for their guidance. During this time (350 years), Israel would sometimes begin to turn from God and His ways for other gods and God would put them under the oppression of a foreign nation to shake them awake once more. During these times God would raise a strong central leader (Judge) to draw them together, fight the oppressors and return to God whole-heartedly; it was much like assigning a leader during martial law. After the time of trouble was passed the Judge would not rule as king, they would simply assist in deciding matter of Law between parties. (when Ruth was written) A King is Given: there came a time that Israel rejected God’s plan of government and they demanded to have a king as other nations (1 Samuel 10) (1095BC): 1 Samuel 8:4-7: God used the last Judge (Samuel) to appoint a king over Israel (Saul), but because he was selfish, proud and followed his own ways, he was replaced after 40 years. Samuel anointed a young, last-born nobody shepherd to be his successor as king according to God’s command (David). He won the heart of Saul and the Israelites with his courage in defeating Goliath and the Philistines, later ran for his from Saul, who in a jealous rage over God’s blessings on David tried to kill him the rest of his days. David remained in exile and hiding until Saul’s death when he became king. Of all kings, David was always God’s favored one. He wrote many Psalms, led Israel’s army as a brave warrior, was an accomplished musician; and has been given a future place as Prince of the New Jerusalem under Jesus Himself, when God sets up His Kingdom on earth once more. A Kingdom Divided: David appoints his son Solomon to succeed him. Solomon was David’s son with Bathsheba, his wife from an adulterous affair. He was one of Israel’s most successful and wise kings, building the first Temple for God in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6) (1004BC) He became proud and arrogant in his success and wisdom, not following God, but taking foreign wives and worshipping other Gods, ending his 40 year reign poorly, oppressing his own nation in forced labor and strenuous taxes that nearly caused rebellion near the end. When his son Rehoboam became king, the elders asked that he lighten the burden placed on them by his father, but Rehoboam arrogantly said he would make his father’s burden seem light in comparison; the people rebelled and Israel was torn apart by civil war (1 Kings 12) (933BC) Ten tribes turned from Rehoboam to anoint a new king, Jeroboam. Two tribes remained loyal to Rehoboam (Judah & Benjamin). [Drastically important to remember for the rest of the OT]: The nation remained divided for the rest of the days into two kingdoms. The Northern Kingdom was called Israel (the ten tribes) (19 kings total), the Southern Kingdom was called Judah (two tribes)- with Jerusalem as capital (19 kings, 1 queen). Captivity and Exile: each kingdom goes through its struggles with following God, rarely having kings that aren’t evil and rebellious. Israel was the worst of the two, but they were both rebellious. Both had prophets sent to them, warning that they would be overtaken in captivity and destruction if they didn’t repent. Finally (722BC), the Assyrians took the Northern Kingdom of Israel into captivity- never to return. They tried to take Judah as well, but Judah had a God-fearing king at the time, Hezekiah, who prayed and was delivered. (God killed 185K Assyrians for Judah) (2 Kings 19). The Babylonians took control of the Judah and deported many Jews to Babylon (605BC), then took the rest of the Jews into captivity (586BC), destroyed the city of Jerusalem and God’s Temple and the reign of kings comes to an end. The Return from Captivity: the Persian Empire defeated the Babylonians (539BC), and after 70 years of captivity (as prophesied), the Persia King allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild its walls (516BC). The 400 Years of Silence: after the return of the Jews to Jerusalem under the Persian, there was 400 years of silence from God before the New Testament begins. During this silence, the Jews continue to live in their land but under foreign oppression. The Grecian Empire (Alexander the Great) defeated the Persians; when he died, the empire divided and Jerusalem fell under the rule of the Seleucid Dynasty- where Jewish religious practices were forbidden and it sparked a revolt by the Maccabees. During the revolt (167BC), the Jews won their independence for the first time in more than 500 years (Hanukkah), although it was short-lived (80 years) before the Roman Empire moved in and once again ruled over the Jews.
Through the events of the Old Testament, God called out His people that would be used to save the world, gave them His Laws (to keep them separate and Holy for His mission), placed them in a land where He would introduce the Messiah to the world. He used them to write His prophecies foretelling when, where and why the Messiah was coming, and kept them as a Nation through rebellion and many outside oppressors. Now the Prophecy was approaching: the time for God to step into the world: the birth of our Savior. Galatians 4:4-5: God had a plan for this specific time in history.
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