Now in Acts Chapter 7, with the sermon that we just read from Steven, we see basically kind of an overview of the history the nation of Israel which is most of the history of the old testament. He just gives us a little synopsis where he hits the main events and explains all thing, and the great thing about that is that it allows to step back and see the big picture. Often, when we're reading our bibles and we just read a few chapters, we're just looking at one small little episode in the history of mankind and the history of the bible, and often in a sermon, when a sermon is preached from one or two chapters, again, you're looking at a very small piece of the picture, but sometimes, it's good to take a step back and just get an overview of the big picture and understand how these things all fit together when we read our bibles.
A lot of people, when they read the bible, don't understand the whole big picture of what the bible's teaching. Now this is especially true when people have not read the bible cover to cover, and if you've never read the bible cover to cover, that should be a very high priority for you to get on track to start reading a little bit everyday, checking it off either in the table of contents or some kind of a chart that you check up and make sure that you read the bible cover to cover at least one time and then read it again. I don't want to ask for a raise of hands to embarrass people, but if I ask for a raise of hands of who has never read the whole thing cover to cover, there are hands that would go up in the building that would say "I have never read the whole thing cover to cover," and it's a shame if you've been staying for longer than a year or two and you haven't read it cover to cover.
You need to get on that. It's very important. The bible says "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Now we need to read our bibles not to just get spiritual strength and spiritual meat, but also in order to grow in knowledge. Over and over again, the bible tells us how important it is to gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding and these things come from the word of God. The bible says "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ." Today, many churches and denominations will de-emphasize knowledge and just focus on feelings and things like that, but we ought to know the bible. We ought to know what the book is about, we ought to know what it teaches, we ought to know the biblical stories.
Our children that are growing up should grow up with a knowledge of who the bible characters, what books they appear in, who the key players are in the story that is the bible. Today we go out soul winning and we talk to young people that don't grow up in church and even some that do grow up in church, and they don't know who Samson is, they don't know who Noah is, they don't know anything about the bible. A lot of people get saved as adults, they didn't grow up with that foundation and so forth, so tonight, believe it or not, what I want to do tonight is I want to tell you the whole story of the bible just in one sermon, and the idea is to explain every book in the bible. It's not going to be a super long sermon or anything, but I want to put this to ... I hope you guys don't have anywhere to go tonight because we're doing the whole bible tonight.
Honestly though, I just want to give you an overview because I know some people in here that have read the bible a lot, probably already have in understanding this, but I guarantee you that even those who've read the bible a lot, if you pay attention, you will learn things tonight, but for those that are newer to the bible, haven't read the whole thing cover to cover, I think this will be very helpful for you to put things in perspective, so while I'm teaching this tonight, you might want to just have a finger in the table of contents of your bible so that you could see the list of books there because the way I'm going to explain this tonight is in the order of the books, the way that they appear in the table of contents, not necessarily in a strictly chronological order because all of the books in the old testament are not in chronological order.
Starting with the book of Genesis and I don't want to talk about the book of Genesis for too long because that's probably the book that people know the most because people get really excited about reading the bible and they turn to Genesis and they read, and like "Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus ... " They kind of get bogged down and that's as far as they get, so I just want to say a few things about Genesis but go to chapter 6 of Genesis. The book of Genesis in a nutshell basically takes us from the creation of the world all the way until the nation of Israel is formed.
That's the purpose of the book of Genesis, so we start out of course, "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth," and the bible describes God creating all of the plants and all the animals, the heavenly bodies, all these things, and it's very clear that it took place in 6 literal days because of the fact that it says over and over again, "The evening and the morning were the first day," and it also says in Exodus chapter 20 that in 6 days, "God made the heaven, the earth and everything that is therein," so there's no gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 as some would put forth. God creates everything he creates, Adam and Eve. The first man and first woman, they're in the garden of Eden. Of course, they sin, and as a consequence, they are cast out. They have children, Cain and Abel, and many other sons and daughters. People often ask the question "Hey, where did Cain get his wife?" Well, he married his sister, folks. Deal with it.
In those days, that was allowed because it was the only game in town, but when Adam and Eve had children, the bible makes it clear that they had a multitude of sons and daughters, and obviously, it would be different than marrying your sister today because back then, of course the DNA, the gene pool would have been very diverse because if you think about it, Adam had all the DNA and all the different traits for every type of person since they all came from Adam and Eve, so there's a lot of diversity. The problem today with marrying someone who is a close relative is that your genes are too similar. There's not enough diversity in the gene pool that's why we're supposed to branch out and the bible tells us not to marry anyone that is near of canon to us. Don't marry your sibling, don't marry your cousin, et cetera, but because this is the very early days of mankind, that was different, so that's what happened.
They populated the earth and the bible tells of course, the story about how Cain killed Abel. He murdered Abel because his own works for evil and his brother's righteous. He was not given the death penalty. The death penalty did not exist at that time, so he gets away with this without being put to death for murdering his brother Abel in cold blood, but what happens is, a little bit later, one of Cain's descendants named Lamech, he ends up murdering someone and he is also unpunished, and he says "Well, if Cain is going to be avenged sevenfold, well then I should be avenged seven times" or what is it? "Seventy sevenfold because of the fact that I was justified in what I did." As a result of this murder going on and being unpunished, the next thing that we see is in Genesis 6, the whole earth is filled with violence.
First, Cain kills Abel, then Lamech kills a guy, and then pretty soon in Genesis, the bible tells "The whole earth is filled with violence." Look what the bible says in chapter 6 verse 5. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.' But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth." Notice the thing that he keeps bringing up about the earth, the violence. That's the problem, okay. They're harming each other. There's killing and murder, that's pretty same. He says "I'll destroy them with all the earth," verse 14, "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch."
Noah builds the ark, he gets on with his wife, 3 sons and their wives, the whole rest of the earth is wiped out in a flood, so all those descendants of Adam and Eve that had overspread the earth for about 1,650 years are all wiped out and it's just Noah and his wife, 3 sons and their wives, they get on the ark, 8 people. They're on the Ark for about a year. Once everything dried up, they get off the ark, and at that time, they're told to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth so everything starts over. Basically, every person on this planet not only descends from Adam but you could say every person on this planet descends from Noah because everyone is from those 8 people that were all Noah's family.
When they get off the ark, instead of spreading out throughout the earth and filling the earth and replenishing the earth, what they decide to do is to all stay together and stay united, and they say "We're going to build a city and we're going to build a tower that's going to reach to heaven, and we're going to make us a name and we don't want to be spread across the earth," and God didn't like that, so God comes down and confuses their languages at the tower of Babel so that they cannot live together, and by doing that, he divides them into different nations and they head off in different directions because they couldn't communicate with one another, so they split off into different directions. That's in chapter 11, that's the story of the tower of Babel. Now go to Genesis chapter 12. This is a key even in Genesis 12.
Up through chapter 11, we basically have the creation, we have Adam and Eve, we have them sinning, they bring the curse on mankind, we have the story about Cain and Abel, and then of course the whole world was populated, it filled with violence, and so then God sends a flood, destroys mankind, Noah and his family are saved, when they get off the ark, in order to prevent the same thing from happening again, just a total breakdown into violence, God institutes the death penalty. When they get off the ark, he says "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Then instead of spreading out and filling the earth, they all remain united at Babel, God separates them by confusing their languages, and so now that's where we have all the different nations of the world beginning to take shape based upon the grandsons and great grandsons of Noah.
Now that event of the tower of Babel took place exactly 100 years after they got off the ark. That's where things were confused and they were scattered, so what God decides to do because now there's a multitude of nations is to basically pick one man that will found a nation that will be the chosen nation to bring the word of God to the rest of the world. That's the goal with Abraham. God calls Abraham in Genesis 12 verse 1. Look what the bible says. "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
The purpose with choosing Abraham to found this great nation, which would of course be the nation of Israel, was not just to exalt one group of people and say "Hey, these people are better than everybody else. Hey everybody. Worship these wonderful people. They're the special chosen ones." No, they were chosen for a job. The job was, according to the bible, to be a light to the gentiles, and they were to bring the word of God to the world. The old testament scriptures were delivered through the nation of Israel. The bible says "Unto them were committed the oracles of God," and not only that, it would be the nation that would bring forth the savior of mankind, the lord Jesus Christ.
That's why it says that "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." That is quoted in Galatians 3 when it says that the gospel was preached to Abraham saying unto him "In thee shall all nations be blessed" foreseeing that the heaven would be justified by faith in Jesus Christ. It was said unto him that in him, all families of the earth would be blessed, so God creates nations in Genesis 11, and then in Genesis 12, he picks one nation. In fact, he picks a man who is not yet a nation but he says "I'm going to make you into a great nation that's going to be the pattern nation, that's going to be the nation that is alight to the gentiles." Now in the book of Genesis, we follow the life of Abraham, his son Isaac, his son Jacob, Jacob's name is changed to Israel, and then Israel has 12 sons and those 12 sons of Israel become the 12 tribes of Israel. That's what Genesis covers.
Basically from creation to the formation of nations, Abraham is chosen to found a special nation, his grandson Jacob becomes the one that will produce that nation and his name is changed to Israel, and then the 12 sons of Israel become the 12 tribes of Israel, and that's where we're at at the end of the book of Genesis. Those 12 men are alive at the end of the book of Genesis and we see them go down into Egypt because of a famine in the land of Canaan, that's where we leave off at the end of the book of Genesis. They end up staying down there in Egypt for 400 years, and during that 400 years, they multiply and become a great nation. Instead of just the 70 people who go down at the end of Genesis, by the time they leave, there are millions of them, so they multiply into a great nation. That's where we get into the book of Exodus.
In the book of Exodus, we skip forward hundreds of years to where they're now a great nation and they become enslaved in Egypt, and the Egyptians make their lives bitter with hard bondage, and so then God sends them Moses as a deliverer to bring the enslaved nation of Israel out of Egypt and to bring them back to the promised land where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had lived in tents hundreds of years before. In the book of Exodus, we see them leaving Egypt, and then for the second half of the book of Exodus, we basically have the building of the tabernacle, a physical building where they will worship God, but it's a portable building. It wasn't like the temple, it was a great tent that could be taken down and setup in different places, and then also in Exodus< we get some of the rules and regulations of the Mosaic Law.
Now if you would look at the table of contents in your bible, and I'm just going to break down what some of these books cover, but of course we know Genesis takes us from the creation to the founding of the nation of Israel. Exodus teaches about the nation of Israel multiplying and then coming out of Egypt and heading toward the promised land. Some of the rules are given and the tabernacle is built. Then we get into Leviticus, it picks up where Exodus left off, but Leviticus doesn't really carry the story forward very much. There's very little story in it. It's about 90 something percent just more rules. It's the laws of God. Then when we get into the Numbers, we do have more of the laws of God but mainly we pick up the story in the book of Numbers.
Now what the book of Numbers covers would be the time that they spend wandering in the wilderness, so they leave Egypt in Exodus, okay. Again, Leviticus doesn't really move the story forward. When we get to Numbers, they head into the promised land and when they get there, they're scared and they do not enter into the promised land because of their unbelief, because of their lack of faith in the Lord, they end up having to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. That's the period that is covered in the book of Numbers, that wandering in the wilderness. Lot of stories there, Balaam and different events that happened. Then when we get into Deuteronomy, the next book, the word Deuteronomy literally means "Second law," and what this is is basically just a recap.
Deuteronomy is a recap of a lot of the commandments that we already heard in Exodus and Leviticus. He recaps them and puts them together and it's also a recap of the story of them wandering the wilderness. That's why it's called second law, Deuteronomy, because it just reviews all that, and at the end of Deuteronomy, Moses dies. Then we get into the book of Joshua. Joshua is where they go into the promised land. Now they've wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, everybody who was at least 20 years old has died in the wilderness. It's now a new generation that believes the lord and they follow Joshua into the promised land, and for about 7 years, they're fighting battles to take over the land in the promised land and to kick out the inhabitants.
Now they were supposed to completely wipe out the inhabitants and just live there by themselves, but they failed to do that so they ended up having to live amongst a lot of the nations that they were supposed to drive out, namely the Philistines and also the Jebusites, and many of the other Canaanites that live there. In the book of Judges, what we see is a 400 year period of them living In the promised land and following the law of Moses. They have the system that God gave them of laws and judges that we find in the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy, but during the book of Judges, we see them constantly failing to keep the law. What happens is there will be a righteous generation that follows God because of a great leader.
Now that first great leader is Joshua, but then after the death of Joshua, there's a great leader named Othniel, the son of Kenaz, but whenever these leaders will go off to scene, then the children of Israel will fail to teach their children and train their children right, and without strong leadership, they end up turning away from the lord. In the book of Judges, there's the cycle of them just constantly getting right with God under a powerful leader, then that leader dies, that generation dies, and then another generation rises up of just these spoiled little brats who grew up without having to fight any battles or without having to take a sand of anything, and then they end up worshiping other gods and going into sin.
Then God puts them back into bondage, he punishes them, he brings in the enemies, he brings in the Philistines, he brings in the Moabites, the Midianites, and then when things go bad for them, then they're crying out to the lord. "Lord, save us. We're sorry. We shouldn't have done it." Then God sends them another great leader. Whether that's Ehud, whether that's Barak, whether that's Gideon, Samson, all the different judges, 12 in all that are listed In the book of Judges that come in and save the day and lead the people back to worshiping the lord and also lead them into battle to kick out the foreign invader and to bring peace to the land, and then in that generation, they'll have peace, so that's what we see in the book of Judges.
When we get into the next book, if you're looking at the table of contents, the book of Ruth, Ruth is just a short story, and that story, the bible says takes place in the time of Judges, so so far, you could see everything's really in a nice chronological order, isn't it? It makes sense. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua leads into Judges, Judges leads right into first Samuel, everything's chronological for the most part. We get in the first Samuel, we start out, they're still under the Judges, so the judge that they're under at the beginning of first Samuel is Eli who's not mentioned in the book of Judges, he's a new guy. Then after Eli, they're under Samuel, but then they look at Samuel's children and Samuel's children were ungodly.
The children of Israel said "Make us a king like all the nations. We don't want to be under the system of judges that laid out anymore. We want to have a king to be like all the rest of the nations," and God told them that they shouldn't have a king, and Samuel told them that they shouldn't have a king, and God even said "Samuel, don't feel bad." This is a paraphrase. He said "It's not you that they've rejected, it's me that they've rejected, that I should not reign over them." Now the problem that these people had is that they're deciding "Do we want the sons of Samuel to rule over us or do we want a king to rule over us?" Here's the thing. This was never supposed to be hereditary, this thing of judges, so it shouldn't have been just automatic that Samuel's sons are going to be the next judges, and "Hey, if they're not living for God, then let's throw out the whole system."
They should have just rejected Samuel's sons and chosen someone else to be a judge, someone who was a powerful man of God. It shouldn't be hereditary, it was never supposed to be that way, but anyway, they don't take God's advice, they don't take Samuel's advice, so they end up choosing a king to be like the rest of the nations. Actually, God chooses the king for them. He says "Okay, I'll choose the one who's going to rule over you," and God chooses king Saul to be their leader, and king Saul reigns over them for 40 years. Now the book of first Samuel, in a nutshell, basically covers the last days of the judges, Eli and Samuel, and then it takes us through the entire reign of king Saul, and at the end of first Samuel, king Saul dies. That's what ends first Samuel, so then when we get into second Samuel, we have the story of the next king of Israel which would be David.
David's reign is covered in the book of second Samuel. It starts with the events leading up to him becoming king and it ends with him dying. It talks about his last words and so forth, he's about to die at the end. Then we get into first Kings, we pick up with the next king, king Solomon, and first kings and second kings together will take us from king Solomon all the way through all the rest of the kings until the children of Israel go away into a Assyria and Babylon and their nation is destroyed. Now let me stop and talk a little bit about these books for a moment. First of all, we see right away that we have the book of first Kings and second Kings, and then we have the books of first and second Chronicles, so the question is why do we have both? Why do we have first and second Kings and first and second Chronicles? What's the difference between the 2?
First of all, God often repeats things in a different way to help us understand, so that we can compare Deuteronomy with Exodus or so that we could compare the 4 gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and learn things that way, but there is actually a big difference between first and second Kings and first and second Chronicles, and here's the difference. First and second kings focuses more on the northern kingdom of Israel, that's the main focus. It talks about both Israel and Judah, but it focuses on the northern kingdom of Israel. Whereas first and second Chronicles focuses on the southern kingdom of Judah. Now here's how these books work together. Basically, second Samuel is an exact parallel with first Chronicles. Those are the 2 that cover the same events, and then second Chronicles is parallel with first and second Kings.
Basically, the events of first and second Kings are crammed into second Chronicles, but second Chronicles is focusing on the southern kingdom of Judah, first and second Kings is focusing on the northern kingdom of Israel. Now let me explain to you why that is. After the death of Solomon, because Solomon had worshiped false gods in his old age and had turned away from the lord, God told him that as a punishment, the kingdom would be divided. His son would not rule over the whole thing, so in the days of his son Rehoboam, they lose most of the kingdom. Ten of the tribes are taken away and they break off and from another country, sort of like in our nation with the civil war, except that's the exact opposite.
In our nation, it was the south the broke off and declared their independence from the north. This is the exact opposite, it was actually the north that breaks away from the south, but the difference is that they actually won and they actually remained separate. Of course king Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, tried to keep the kingdom together, but God came to him and told him and said "No. This is a punishment, this is a judgement, it's supposed to be divided, and I'm just going to let the northern kingdom stay separate, and here's the thing, they're never reunited. They never were reunited ever, and there is a prophecy about them being reunited, but that's talking about the millennial reign of Christ. In Ezekiel, it talks about "Hey, Judah and Israel are going to be reunited someday." He's talking about the millennial reign of Christ when they would be reunited and no sooner if you actually studied the context, that's another sermon.
Here's what happened. The nation of Israel is broken into 2 parts. The northern kingdom is called Israel, so the one that's named Israel is not the one with Jerusalem in it, okay? It's the northern kingdom that basically totally turns away from the lord and never has a righteous king ruling over it. When they break up, the southern kingdom of Judah, where Jerusalem is and so forth, that's the one that's reigned over by the sons of David, and they go back and forth. They'll have a good king, then they'll have some bad kings, then they'll have a good kings and bad kings, whereas the northern kingdom is just always ruled over by bad guys all the time. They're always worshiping golden calves at their best, and then at their worst, they're just worshiping Satan in the form of Baal. That's the northern kingdom of Israel.
Now in that northern kingdom, the capital city moved around a few times, but for most of their history leading up to Omri and Ahab, they kingdom has Tirzah as the capital, but then there's a guy named Zimri who kills his master and takes over the throne for himself and he rules for a whopping 7 days, this guy Zimri. As he rules for 7 days, people are saying "We don't want this guy ruling over us," and they really liked this general named Omri. That was the guy that the people wanted, so Omri rallies the people and they go to overthrow king Zimri, and when Zimri sees them coming, he realizes that he has no chance, so he decides to just kamikaze the whole thing and just light his palace on fire and just burn the whole thing to the ground with him in it. Basically, "If I can't rule over this thing, no one can." He just burns the whole place down, himself included.
After that, the capital is no longer in Tirzah, that new king Omri, he goes out and buys a new piece of land to make it the capital, and he buys it from a guy named Shemer, and so that place ends up being called Samaria after the name of Shemer. Omri sets up a capital in Samaria, so for most of the scriptures that we read in first, second Kings, first, second Chronicles, and then when we get into the prophets that go along with those, Isaiah, Jeremiah, et cetera, you'll often see reference made to Israel with the capital of Samaria and Judah having the capital of Jerusalem. That's how things end up being. Now in that time period, if you would go to second Kings chapter 16. In that time period, like I said, there's a lot more worship of the lord going on down in Judah than in Israel. Most of the time in Israel, they're worshiping false gods, they're worshiping Satan, and the leadership is always leading them that direction.
They never have a good king. They never have a godly man like Hessakiah come in or a Josiah come in and straighten things out. That's all happening in the southern kingdom of Judah. Well over time, the people living in the southern kingdom of Judah begin to be referred to as the Jews because it's called Judah, so they're called Jews. Now that word is first used in second Kings chapter 16. This is the first time the word Jew is every used in the bible. It says in verse number 5, "Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.
So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me." Let me just explain these verses to you here. King Ahaz is the king of the southern kingdom of Judah, and king Ahaz is attacked by the Syrians and Israel working together, so the king of Israel and the king of Syria, they team up and they say "Let's go fight Judah and let's go take some of these cities away and incorporate them into our nation." This is the first time the word Jews is ever mentioned in verse 6 where it talks about how Rezin, king of Syria, recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews, first mention of the word Jews in the bible, from Elath.
What's interesting about this is that the first time the word Jew is ever mentioned in the bible, Israel is fighting against the Jews because it's Israel and Syria fighting against the Jews, driving the Jews out, and in the next verse, the king of Israel is going to Tiglathpileser saying "Help me against these people, help me fight back." I'm sorry, the king of Judah is saying "Help me fight back against Israel." This is where people get mixed up. People think that the word Jew is synonymous with Israelite. This is false because of the fact that the word Jew is only ever used in the bible to refer to those of the southern kingdom. That word is never used until the kingdom is divided, and the first time it's used, the context is that Israel is fighting the Jews, so how can they be one and the same if Israel's fighting the Jews? It doesn't make any sense. That's what the word Jew means.
A lot of people will lie about this and say "Pastor Anderson teach us that only the tribe of Judah are Jews." Now is that what I just said? Did I say "The tribe of Judah is the Jews?" Did I ever say that? Anything like that? No, but people will lie and create that straw man because they want to have this pro Zionist, pro Israel, pro Judah mentality. They want to basically ignore scripture because scripture teaches that the Jews are the southern kingdom. I just showed it to you, and by the way, when you study the bible, if you want to get the definition of a word, it's always great to look up the first time it's mentioned because God will often give you the definition right there, and the first time Jews are mentioned, they're in contrast with Israel. Here's Israel, here's the Jews, okay?
br> Now why is that important? The important thing is to understand that the Jews are of the southern kingdom of Judah. Notice I didn't say "The tribe of Judah." I said the southern kingdom of Judah. What's the difference? The southern kingdom of Judah includes more than just the tribe of Judah. It also includes the tribe of Benjamin and it also includes most of the Levites, and it also includes very few stragglers from the other 10 tribes that basically made their way down into Judah in the days of Hessakiah because of the fact that Hessakiah brought the nation of Judah back to God and he put out a call to northern Israel saying "Look, if you want to worship the lord, come on down." Obviously, there are going to be people of the 10 tribes in the north who are sick of all the Baal worship and sick of all the worshiping of golden calves that are going to come down into that southern kingdom of Judah and join the nation of Judah.
The southern kingdom of Judah is predominantly 90 some percent made up of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, that's the vast majority of the southern kingdom, but it could also include some stragglers from the northern kingdom, people who are righteous people who came down in the days of Hessekiah or at other times, it's just because they want to worship the lord, they came into the southern kingdom. Also, the southern kingdom could even include people from all over the world who'd come to Judah. It can include some Ethiopians, it can include people from Canaan land, the former inhabitants, the Canaanites like Simon the Canaanite, people who'd descended from those tribes that they were supposed to have driven out and so forth.
That's the difference between the Jews and Israel and the reason I say that is that the term Jew is not used until after their split, so when the bible talks about the 12 tribes of Israel, it would be better to refer to them as Israelites or Hebrews. That would be more accurate than to call them Jews because Jews are of the southern kingdom. We have these 2 kingdoms that have been split, right? What happens to these 2 kingdoms? Like I said, the northern kingdom was worse than the southern, so eventually, God brings the Assyrians in to come in and take the nation of Israel captive. Now obviously, they didn't take every single person captive but they took a lot of the people of Israel captive and then they repopulated the nation of Israel with people from other nations.
They gave them the land and redistributed it to them, and those people who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel, after the 10 tribes were taken captive, those people became noticed as Samaritans. Why? Because the capital of Israel is Sumeria, so that's why that northern kingdom, eventually the people who live there became the Samaritans. Most of them are not even descended from Israel, but they become mixed in with some of those northern Israelites which is why when you get to the story of the woman at the well in John chapter 4, she's talking about "Well, Jacob our father," so that shows that the Samaritans did have some ties to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but they become so intermingled that they'd mostly lost their tribal identity.
They don't know what tribe they are, they're mixed in with all the heathen of the land, they weren't looked at as being Jews, they were looked at as being Samaritans, and then the bible even tells us that Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans, so there's a distinction there. Then what happens to the southern kingdom? Well the southern kingdom of Judah ends up being invaded by the Babylonians and they're taken captive to Babylon as a punishment for serving other gods. They're in Babylon for 70 years, and then after 70 years, they come back from Babylon and they rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, they rebuild the temple, and so forth. Now lets go back to our table of contents and understand where we're at with these books, okay? We understand first, second Kings, first, second Chronicles. That's basically giving us all the kings of Israel and Judah, and the stories that are therein.
Another notable thing to mention about first Kings is that first Kings is where we find a lot Elijah the prophet, and second Kings is where we find a lot of stories about Elisha the prophet, and these guys are mainly preaching in the northern kingdom which is why they're in first and second kings. After we finish up with the story here of the Israelites being carried away captive to Syria, and the Jews being carried away captive of Babylon, then the next book that you see is the book of Ezra. After the second Chronicles is Ezra. What's Ezra about? Ezra is about the children of Judah coming back from Babylon and building the temple, okay? Then the next book Nehemiah is about the children of Judah coming back from Babylon to build the wall, so first they build the temple, 40 and 6 years was the temple in building according to the [inaudible 00:38:01], and then in Nehemiah, they build the wall around the city.
In the book of Esther is a story about Jews that are scattered throughout the world, and obviously that story takes place in Persia and Shushan, the palace, so up through Esther, the bible is in Chronological order more or less. Obviously, first and second Chronicles overlap first and second Kings, but pretty much from Genesis to Esther, we have the entire story of the old testament. That gives us the whole chronology, the whole history of the old testament is from Genesis to the book of Esther chronologically. Then after that, we're no longer in chronological order because we enter a new section. If you want to take a pen and do this, you can, but basically, here's how the old testament divides, okay. If you draw a line between Esther and Job, that's one division, then after Song of Solomon would be another division, and then after Daniel would be another division.
The reason why this is important is because Genesis through Esther, that's a chronological story being told, right? Then we get into a new section which would be the section of the poetic books, so these 5 books, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, these are the poetic books, okay. These books are also roughly in chronological order because if you think about it, the book of Job is an old book. We know that the events in the book of Job take place pretty much between Genesis and Exodus, but the book was written later. Hundreds of years later, the book was written, so we have Job and then we have Psalms. Who's the primary author of the book of Psalms? David, right? The Psalms are in by some other people as well but primarily by David, and then after that we have Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon which were all written by Solomon, okay. Those are our poetic books.
Notice each section of the old testament is in order within that section, so we have the 5 books of Moses known as the Torah or the law books, then we have Joshua to Esther which we call the historical books. Joshua to Esther is the historical books and those are in roughly chronological order, then we get the poetic books, they're roughly in chronological order, then we get to the major prophets. Now the major prophets, and if you would flip over to Isaiah chapter 1, the major prophets are also in chronological order. Now the 4 major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Now look what the bible says in Isaiah chapter number 1. It says "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah," is that northern or southern kingdom? Southern kingdom. "And Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah."
Isaiah's preaching during the reign of 4 different kings. He has a long ministry and this is basically long before the children of Israel or the children of ... I'm sorry. This is long before the children of Judah going to captivity he's preaching, okay? Then the next book, go to Jeremiah chapter 1. When is Isaiah preaching? He's preaching during the reigns of these 4 kings, so he's preaching during the events of second Kings and he's preaching basically long before they go into captivity in the nation of Judah. Now look if you would at Jeremiah chapter one. It says "The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: To whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah." Now notice, this is a totally different king than when Isaiah's prophesying, this is a later king. This is the king that is basically reigning very shortly before they go into captivity.
Isaiah is long before they go into captivity. Jeremiah is basically leading up to the captivity, so in the book of Jeremiah, it describes them going into captivity, so Jeremiah is leading up to and going into captivity, right? Then the next prophet, Ezekiel, deals with them already in captivity. Flip over to Ezekiel chapter number 1. We have Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, which Lamentations is just more from Jeremiah, and then we have Ezekiel. Look at Ezekiel chapter 1. "Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives," see he's among the captives, "By the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, the word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him." He's already captive. He's in the area controlled by Babylon and he's part of the captivity, so that shows you that these prophets are in chronological order. Isaiah before Jeremiah, leading up to the captivity, and Ezekiel, he's already captive. The next major prophet Daniel is also during the captivity, same time period as Ezekiel, the reason it comes after Ezekiel is because Ezekiel's a grown man when he's taken captive. Daniel is a child when he's taken captive, so he ends up living all the way through the captivity, and Daniel even goes beyond the captivity. Even after the 70 years is over, Daniel is still preaching, so that's why Daniel comes last of the major prophets.
Then, the next section we enter is the minor prophets, and the minor prophets are again, in chronological order with each other because we start with Hosea. Flip over to Hosea chapter 1 and we'll notice in verse 1 it says "The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri," watch this, "In the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah." Now does that sound familiar? That's exact list of Isaiah, so Isaiah and Hosea are both preaching at the exact same time, and then as we go down through the minor prophets, we're going to chronologically move forward. We don't have time to look at all of it but in Amos 1:1, it talks about how he's preaching in the days of Uzziah, it talks about, in the book of Jonah, we don't really get a time in Jonah, but if we study second kings, we can see that Jonah was during the reign of Amaziah also.
Then we have Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, okay. Go to Zephaniah chapter 1 verse 1. Zephaniah chapter number 1, and the bible says in verse 1, "The word of the Lord which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah." Now which of the major prophets preached in the days of Josiah? Jeremiah, right? We're leading up to the captivity as where we are in the book of Zephaniah. If you study these, you can kind of figure out, "Okay, what time period these are preaching," and put them into context of the story, okay? Then the last 3 books that we have in the old testament are Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. These 3 minor prophets are after they get back from the captivity, so these would be during the time of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. These would be during part of the book of Daniel, okay?
Look if you would at Malachi chapter 4, and while you're turning to Malachi chapter 4, I'll just give you a quick of what we talked about. Genesis through Esther gives us the framework of the story of the events of the old testament. We get the whole story, okay? Then we enter a new section, the poetic books, right? The poetic books don't really have anything to do with the story, so they're in a separate section so as not to interrupt the story, okay? Then we get into the major prophets and they're in chronological order, taking us from the days of Uzziah the king and the different kings that are listed there up through Hessakiah, and then basically we get into Jeremiah which gets us closer to captivity and into the captivity, Ezekiel, we're already into the captivity, Daniel, we go further into the captivity. Major prophets are in order, and then we have the minor prophets that are also in order, same order, okay?
Now where we left off in the story in the old testament is that the children of Israel, namely the children of Judah have gone into Babylonian captivity, right? They're there for 70 years, then they come back in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, rebuild the temple, rebuild the wall, and they're going to live there for several hundred years, okay? That's the way things stand when Jesus comes in the book of Matthew in the new testament, so what we have is we have the children of Judah living in their own land, but by the time Matthew rolls around, they're under the rule of the Roman empire, so it's now a province known as Judea. Instead of being called the nation of Judah, it's the province of Judea, and then Jesus comes on in the scene and so forth.
Let me back up a little bit. Why is it important to know when Isaiah preached? Why is it important to know when Jeremiah preached? Why is it important to know when Ezekiel preached? Here's why it's important, and by the way, the fact that people don't understand the order, they get into false doctrine. For example, it's very obvious when you're reading a book like Ezekiel which starts out saying "I'm among the captives by the river Chebar. I'm captive. It's the captivity of Jehoiachin. We're all captive here. We're captive in Babylon. We're in the Babylonian captivity." That when Ezekiel then preaches a lot about how they're going to be brought back to their land, doesn't that kind of makes sense since they're in captivity in Babylon for 70 years and he's saying "Hey, we're coming back. God's going to bring us back" because it's going to happen in their lifetime. Makes sense, right?
Here's what people do. They'll take stuff from Ezekiel and say "Oh this is about the Jews coming back in 1948," because they forgot the fact that Ezekiel is preaching to people who are in captivity right then, saying "Hey, we're coming back guys. God's going to bring us back. God's going to bring the children of Judah back," and then they say "Oh, that's in 1948." No, that happened in 516 BC. That's when that happened. It already happened. A lot of guys where people point you to stuff in Jeremiah which there's a big theme in Jeremiah about "How you guys are going into captivity but you're coming back. After 70 years, you're going to come back," they'll take that stuff and try to warp it forward to 1948. "Hey, this is a fulfillment of prophecy," so be careful.
When anybody's quoting to you from Jeremiah and Ezekiel, trying to apply it to the 20th century, you need to get back into the context and say "Okay, here's when the book's written. Let's read the whole chapter and he's talking about the Babylonian captivity," and then they talk about "Oh, they're going to come back and rebuild ..." Already happened, okay? That's one of the reasons why it's important to go into the book of Ezekiel thinking about "Okay, when was this written?" That's why it's the first verse, folks. Why do you think the first verse of Isaiah says "Here's when it was written." Verse 1. Jeremiah, verse 1, "Here's when this book is preached." First one of Ezekiel, "Hey, it's in the 5th year," and you're like "What do I care what year and what month ... " Because it matters to the context of what you're reading, to understand while you're reading Ezekiel what he's preaching about and what the teachings are, so that's kind of important.
Now the book of Malachi is the last book of the old testament and it ends with some very important words. Look at verse 4 of chapter 4, and remember, chronologically, this is the final prophet of the old testament. Chronologically, because of the fact that they're all in order, and this guy is after Haggai and Zachariah, this guy is the last minor prophet. Here's what he says in verse 4 of chapter 4. "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments." Now why is that important? Because we're going into what people will often call the period of silence or the intertestiment period where there's a few hundred years between the old testament and the new testament where we don't have scripture.
We don't have prophets of God speaking like we did in the days of Uzziah, Jotham and Ahaz and Hessakiah, leading up to the days of Haggi, Zachariah and Malachi, there's a silence where God's not sending prophets to them to speak unto them the word of God in the same way that he was, so he leaves them with this. "Hey, follow the law of Moses." It makes sense like "Look, you're not going to hear from me for a while, so just follow the bible, follow the law of Moses. Just do what you're supposed to do, and here's what's coming, verse 5.
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord," so basically he's saying "Just keep doing what you're doing, follow the law of Moses in the land, and then I'm going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the lord and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Isn't it interesting that the last 2 verses of the old testament are prophesying the first guy of the new testament, John the baptist? Isn't that interesting? It's getting you ready for what's next, okay. In Matthew, we get into the story of John the baptist, Jesus, the whole ministry of Jesus. Go to Matthew chapter 17. I got to hurry, I'm running out of time here. Matthew chapter 17. The bible says in Matthew 17 verse 10, "And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?" Here's why they're saying it, because in Malachi chapter 4, says in verse 11, "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist."
Now let's stop and think about this for a moment. In the old testament, what would you say is kind of the key books, the key section in the old testament, the most important, and I understand that all scriptures given by inspiration of God, all scripture profitable for doctrine, but what's the crocks of the old testament? Wouldn't it be Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy? Because everything else is pointing back to that and talking about that. That's where the law of Moses is laid out, and even at the end of Malachi, he's referring back to that, so all throughout the bible, we're pointing to that as a key part of the bible, the first 5 books. Genesis through Deuteronomy is that important section.
In fact, that's what the whole thing is named after, the old testament is about the law of Moses, so Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy is the key of the old testament, and the key person of the old testament is Moses, because the law was given by Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, so in the new testament, we again start out with pretty much the most important thing, the key books which are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Does that make sense? In the old testament, we start out with the key books. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, right? In the new testament, we start out with the key books of the new testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Why are these the key books? Because they're the books that tells about Jesus. That's what the whole bible is pointing toward. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all give us the story of Jesus.
Some of them cover his birth, some of them don't, but covers his life, his preaching, his miracles, his death, burial, and resurrection. They're all covered in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. If I could only have one part of the bible, that's the part that I would have. That's the key right there, the part about Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Then what do we have next in the new testament? Look at your table of contents. What's next? The book of Acts which is basically the historical book, so remember in the old testament, we started out with the law of Moses, then we got into the historical books, right? From Joshua to Esther, the historical books. When we get into the new testament, it's actually laid out in a similar fashion because we start out with the key teaching of the new testament which is Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, then we get into a historical book, the book of Acts.
It's called Acts because it's the acts of the apostles, the actions that they did. Then after the historical books, what did we have in the old testament after the historical books? What did we get into? The poetic books, right? Those poetic books are books of wisdom and teaching. We think about Proverbs, right? It's really teaching us how to live our lives and things like that. The book of Psalms is a book that teaches us all kinds of bible stories, kind of interprets a lot of bible stories from the first 5 books, and it's a very diverse book in Psalms covering all kinds of information. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Songs of Solomon and then obviously the book of Job is in there as well, so if you think about it, in the new testament, we get into basically the doctrinal teaching, in a way parallel with Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon in the sense that it's a doctrinal teaching.
Not as much a story, is it? Romans, for a second, Corinthians, those aren't stories, are there? No. Just like some of the poetic books are more of just a teaching, just more of a doctrine, okay? This is the way it breaks down in the new testament. First 4 books are the 4 gospels about Jesus. Then we have the historical book, the book of Acts. Then from Romans to Jude, we have the epistles, and the epistles are basically letters that are written by the apostles to different churches and different people, and they give us all the doctrine of the new testament, explaining Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, giving us the doctrine, explaining us how to live our lives in the new testament. Then we have the prophetic book Revelation, right? It's really laid out similar. It's easy to remember because it's laid out similar to the old testament. We've got the law of Moses as the key of the old testament, 4 gospels is the key in new testament.
Historical books in the old testament, historical book of Acts in the new testament. The poetic books, some people don't call it poetic books, some people call it the books of wisdom or something like that. I like to call it the poetic books because they are poetic, all 5 of them, so those are poetry, then over here, we have the epistles, and these are both heavy doctrinal teaching, okay? Then over here, we have the major and minor prophets, and then over here we have the prophets, right? Revelation. What's it about? What's Revelation about? Prophecy, right? Bible prophecy. It kind of go side by side if you think of it as being in those sections, okay? Let's break down the epistles just a little further. If you look at your table of contents there, we start out with the epistles to the churches, and these epistles to the churches are written by the apostle Paul, and so they're written to Christians in a certain geographic area.
Romans is written in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephises, Philippi, Colossi, these are cities in regions where these people are being addressed, so these are letters to specific churches, okay? Then after we get through the letters to the churches which is Romans through first and second Thessalonians, then we get into what's known as the pastoral epistles, and the reason these are called the pastoral epistles is because these are epistles that are written unto pastors and these are written by the apostle Paul unto pastors, first of all to Timothy, who's a pastor, to Titus who's a pastor, and to Philemon who's a pastor, okay? Then we get into what's known as the general epistles, and the reason these are called the general epistles is because they're not written to any specific geographical region or town. They're just kind of a general epistle which would be Hebrews, just to Hebrews, wherever they are.
Then James is written to the 12 tribes scattered abroad, so it's called a general epistle, and then you've got first and second Peter and first John, just written to all kinds of people, okay? Second and third John are written to specific people. Jude is just a general epistle written to whoever, and then we have the book of Revelation which gets in the end times, bible prophecy, and things of that nature.
Now in the short time that I have left, let me just give you just in a quick nutshell the story of the new testament, okay? In the story of the new testament, we have of course the life of Jesus Christ. "He comes unto his own and his own received him not, but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." He comes to the nation of Israel. He's born a Jew. He's born and raised keeping the customs of the law of Moses, he's under the law and so forth, then he, of course, around 30 years of age, is baptized and he preaches the gospel of the kingdom of God, preaches the word, chooses 12 disciples, they go all over Israel preaching, and he says this "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." He says "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Jesus did not travel all over the world. He didn't go to India or Arabia, he didn't go into Europe, he just stayed in Israel, just a small geographic area. He just stayed in Israel and he sought after the lost sheep house of the house of Israel, and he sent his disciples and told them "Just go to Israel," and then what happens is the Jews by and large rejected Jesus. They end up killing and crucifying him, so after Jesus raises again from the dead, he tells his disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." He spends 3 and a half years just reaching his own area, 3 and a half years. We're going to go to every town, we're going to go to every city, every village, and he spends 3 and a half years doing that, he finishes the job, his disciples finishes the job, and he dies, he's buried, he rise again, and then tells them, "Go teach all nations."
Now here's the thing, they didn't do that. They did not obey him. He said "Go teach all nations," and most of them hung around in Jerusalem. Hang around, they don't want to go to these foreign countries and everything, so they just hang around there in Jerusalem, so God sends persecution to light a fire under them. Steven is killed, that first martyr, and then that persecution arising around Steven escalates and end up being scattered into other places preaching the gospel, but many of them still stayed at Jerusalem even though they're being persecuted. They didn't get the message. Jesus told them to go to all nations, that's why it's not going well for them in Jerusalem. Then God ends up picking another guy in addition to them, he picks the apostle Paul, and basically, I guess God just realized his disciples aren't going to teach all nations, so he picks another apostle and he picks him as the final apostle, as one born out of due time.
The final apostle, the last apostle is the apostle Paul, and he tells Paul "You're going to go to the gentiles. You're going to bring the gospel to the gentiles," basically what the others are failing to do. In the book of Acts, we see those stories, first about the other disciples, but because they weren't really doing exactly what Jesus told them to do in the great commission, the focus switches to Paul. Why? Because he's obedient. He's doing it. Paul takes the gospel all over the world and so we follow Paul's missionary journeys through the book of Acts, and then most of the letters end up being written by Paul and so on and so forth, and then the book of Revelation obviously deals with the future, things that have not even happened yet even as we speak, so we're in a period right now like the period between Malachi and Matthew, that's where we're at right now.
Where Malachi told them "Hey, remember the law of Moses." We're kind of in a mode of just "Hey, follow the new testament. Preach the gospel to every creature. Occupy until I come. Stay busy, follow the bible, be steadfast, unmovable, stay in church, don't forsake the assemblings of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but exorting one another in so much the more as you see the day approaching," and instead of waiting for the coming of Jesus like they were after Malachi, we're waiting for the second coming of Jesus which is going to be of course preceded by a fake Jesus. An impostor, the Antichrist. Revelation and many the epistles teach us this, that there's going to be a decoy first that we need to be aware of. Not to just be waiting for Jesus to come at any moment, no, because there's a decoy. We need to be watching for the Antichrist and the events of the tribulation that will signal us that the second coming of Christ is then.
It's an exciting time and here we are, we don't really know where in that period we are. Are we at the very end of that period or just about to get into the biblical events? Are we like the generation that was around at the first coming of Christ? That would have been a cool generation, right? To be living when Jesus first came on this earth? To be on that sermon on the mount, you're there at the sermon on the mount, listening to it live. That would be amazing, right? We could be a generation that's going to see some other stuff live. We're going to see the 2 witnesses live or whatever, so basically that's it in a nutshell. I hope that helps you to step back and get the big picture of the bible so that you don't just look at the table of contents in your bible and just be overwhelmed by it, like "Oh man, I don't know what all these stuff, what's going on with this."
It helps you to realize, it is in a logical order. It does makes sense and not be like the guy who once told me that the first time he read the bible, he finished Matthew, and he started reading Mark, and he said "Wait a minute. How many times did Jesus come to the earth?" Because he thought that Mark was just the next visit. It's good to have a basic understanding of how these books play out, and it's in chronological order, you just have to understand the divisions, where the divisions are and I pray that you will take it seriously to know the bible. More than ever, today it's important that we know the bible. I don't want to pastor a church filled with people who don't know the bible. Why would I want to pastor a church full of ignorant people who have no idea what the bible says who just come to church and say "Well, you know, whatever the pastor tells us, duh."
No, we need to be studying to show ourselves approved and I hope that we can raise up some men of God too that will be able to faithful men and will preach and teach others, we need to all be teaching our children, we need to know what we're talking about and not to be ignorant of the bible. You should be able to understand the basic message of the bible, the basic story of the old testament, and that if somebody flips open the bible and shows you something, you have your bearings. They flip it open in Jeremiah, they flip open in Ezekiel, you have an inkling of "Hey, here's what it's about. Here's when it's happening. Here's what's going on," and you can put it all in a bigger perspective of who the nation of Israel is, why they're established, okay? Who Jesus is, who his disciples are, why Paul is involved, and all these epistles that he wrote, how do they factor in?
You need to understand these things because we could be very well be living in the last days, but whether we are or not, we need to know the bible and be ready to give an answer to any man and be able to steady, to show ourselves approved unto God, not to just ignorantly follow what we're taught, but to study and search the scriptures daily whether these things or so. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for the bible, lord. It's an important treasure. I pray to you to help every single person here to take it seriously and not to just let it collect dust all week, lord, but to pull it out and read every single book, 66 books, and not only to read them but to retain them, to understand them, to comprehend them, and most importantly to use them to preach the gospel and to teach the people that we win to Christ all the other things that they need to learn to live a godly life. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.