God bless, KM
Chapter 2 – Lights, Camera, Action!
Previewing the Bible’s Stage and Storyline
In this Chapter… we continue with an overview of the Bible:
- The Bible is a master play that tells the story of how God saves the world, specifically humankind, from sin.
Ø The Acts of the Play: Act 1 – Old Testament; Act 2 – New Testament
Ø Scenes of the Play: the groupings of Books of the Bible
Ø The Common Theme throughout the Storyline: the Covenants
Ø The Stage for the Drama: Ancient Israel
o Names for this “Stage” have included: Canaan, Israel, the Holy Land,the Promised Land, Palestine
§ Most scholars agree that the name, “Palestine”, is derived from the inhabitants of the land: the Philistines.
§ However, an additional thesis (one that Kirk thinks has much value) is that the name may go back to the time when the Jews were in Egypt.
· The Egyptians, since as early as 1150BC during Ramses III reign, referred to the Sea People (i.e.: Israelites) from the north as “Pelesets”. A growing number of scholars believe this is the origin of the word, “Palestinians”.
· Note: This wording was discovered in Egypt inscribed on a stone tablet which dated back to Ramses III era.
Getting a Glimpse of the Biblical Stage
“Like many works of literature, the Bible is best experienced as a continuous narrative.”
** Think of the Bible as the story of, what German theologians coined, “Salvation History.”
· This is why there are certain aspects of life and history that have been left out of the Bible.
· For example, we know that dinosaurs existed, but they do not matter to the storyline of how God is saving the world, so they are omitted from the Biblical record other than the generic words of the creation story in the book of Genesis.
** The primary instrument of this Salvation History is the “Covenant”
· A Covenant is an agreement that obligates two or more parties to fulfill specific promises or duties.
· There are two primary types of Covenants in the Bible: Conditional and Unconditional
1. Conditional – God says, “If you , then I .”
a. Example: 2 Chronicles 7:14
2. Unconditional – God say, “I am the Lord, so you will .”
a. Example: Genesis 12
· There are five key Covenants:
1. Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9) – God promises to Noah that he (i.e.: God) will never destroy the Earth again with a flood
2. Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3) – God chose Abraham and he will be the father of a great nation, and through his descendants all the nations will be blessed
3. Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19:3-6) – God promises to be Israel’s God and they his people. The “Ten Commandments” (Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5) become the foundation of this covenant.
4. Davidic Covenant – (2 Samuel 7:12-13) – God establishes that the Messiah will come from the line of David
5. The New Covenant (i.e.: Christ Covenant – Matthew 26:26) – the blood of Jesus Christ is the sign and seal of the fulfillment of redemption, the forgiveness of sin, for all who would believe on him.
“Covenant” is crucial to our understanding of how to live the Christian life…especially how one is saved. Some churches/denominations have added “works” to the covenants of God, making salvation a function of our abilities to do good. These churches are “sacramental” in their understanding of salvation. In other words, they must receive or perform the sacraments in order to be fully “saved.”
But “Covenant” is all about God’s willingness and ability to fulfill his promises about salvation…all apart from our “works” – which only confirm and perfect our faith…they are not the root of faith.
An Outline of the Whole Bible
Act 1 – The Old Testament
Scene 1 – The Primeval History (Genesis 1-11)
1. The Creation
2. The Fall (Adam and Eve)
3. The Flood (Noah and his family)
4. The Relapse (Tower of Babel)
Having been given a fresh start, humans again begin down the wrong moral path by deciding to build a city and giant tower “whose top reaches into the heavens” rather than inhabiting the whole earth as commanded by God.
Scene 2 – The Patriarchs (Genesis 12-50)
1. Abraham and Sarah – establishing the Abrahamic Covenant
2. Isaac and Rebekah – God has the right to choose how the Covenant will work
3. Jacob and Rachel – 12 sons become the 12 nations of Israel
4. Joseph – the youngest son of Jacob saves the nation from famine while serving as Pharaoh’s CEO in Egypt
Scene 3 – Moses and the Exodus (Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy)
** “Let my people go!” (…enough said)
** The 10 Commandments
Scene 4 – Joshua and the period of the Judges (Joshua, Judges and Ruth)
· Joshua assumes leadership of Israel as they enter the Promised Land
· Israel rejects the Covenants and worships false gods
· When they repent, the Judges are God’s leaders for Israel
o Judges were not like Judge Judy. They were fearless warriors and wise scholars to whom God had given the gift of wisdom to lead Israel
o Famous Judges: Gideon, Samson, Deborah, Samuel
· God continues to offer his mercy to his rebellious people…all for the sake of revealing, fulfilling and completing his work of Salvation
Scene 5 – The United Monarchy (1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings 1-11, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 1-9)
· Israel demands a king instead of being led by the Lord himself through the Judges
· Saul is the first king…begins well, declines
· David becomes king…begins well, declines, but is the most honored king by God
· Solomon becomes king…begins well, declines dramatically. Starts Israel down a path of pagan worship.
Scene 6 – The Divided Kingdom (1 Kings 12-22, 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles 10-36)
· After Solomon dies, the United Kingdom is divided into two.
o The Northern Kingdom
§ 10 Tribes
§ Evil kings (by and large)
§ Assyria conquers in 721BC
§ Northern Tribes are dispersed…never to be reunited again
o The Southern Kingdom
§ 2 Tribes
· one is Judah (David’s Tribe) and the other is Benjamin
§ Some evil, some good kings…but all descendants of David
§ Babylonia conquers and destroys the Temple (586BC)
§ Israelites taken to Babylon in exile, while some escape to Egypt
Scene 7 – The Exilic and Post-Exilic Periods (Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, and Esther)
· A renewal of patriotism within Israel, marked by a desire to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple
· Babylon is conquered by Persia
· The Persian King likes the Israelites, giving them permission to return to rebuild the Temple so they might worship the Lord properly, again.
Addendum: Great Expectations (The Prophets, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes)
** These books of prophecy and wisdom gave the Israelites insight into how to live according to God’s moral code. They corrected ungodly behavior and gave hope to those living the code.
** Sometimes called the intertestamental era (approximately 450-5BC) – often called the “400 Silent Years”, recorded in the “The Apocrypha.”
Some say God is giving people a breather until the “big finish”. Others say God was silent due to his disgust with Israel.
Act 2 – The New Testament
Scene 1 – Introducing the Hero: The Life and Ministry of Jesus – The Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
Scene 2 – The Early Church – The Book of Acts and the Epistles
** The Book of Acts is the first book of Church History.
** The Epistles are letters with Apostolic authorship/connection that kept the church orthodox in belief and focused in ministry/purpose. They tend to be directed to a specific congregation, then shared with other churches in that specific congregation’s region.
Scene 3 – The Big Finale: the Beginning of the End – The Revelation
** Paradise Lost in Genesis is Paradise Restored as the Messiah, Jesus Christ, returns to restore God’s original design for the earth: Eden-like living with God, where we walk and talk with the Lord without inhibitors or distractions.