TIMELINE NOTES. The aim of the Bible is to introduce us to God's plan of salvation, not to explain how he created the universe.

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1 TIMELINE NOTES Creation The aim of the Bible is to introduce us to God's plan of salvation, not to explain how he created the universe. It seems that God exists outside of time and space, as we know it. So, while God created the physical universe, He could see all of human history. While he made the galaxies, He could already see Jesus, and while he created the universe, He could see His saints praising His name in the finality of the Kingdom of God. It is interesting that Gen 1:14 states that the reasons for the lights in the sky are for light, and for time measurement. Days are marked by the earth's rotation, months by the moons revolution, and years by the earth's revolution about the sun. Rev 21:22-23 talks of the Kingdom without sun and moon - perhaps it is the measurement of time, or time itself, which is ended.. Genesis says the purpose of the lights in the sky was to give light to the world, and to mark the passage of time. John s gospel tells us that Jesus was the true light that came into the world and was part of God s plan from the beginning (John 1 v 14) Adam and Eve God created man in His image to fill the earth with His glory. Sin entered the world when they did not obey God. Death is the consequence of sin. God did not leave Adam and Eve without hope and made some promises in Eden which pointed forward to Jesus as their saviour and the one who would overcome sin and destroy its power (Gen 3 v14-19). It was not long before jealousy also entered the world and Cain murdered his righteous brother Abel. Seth seemed to take Abel s place and there seems to be a line of righteous people known as the Sons of God and a line of unrighteous people who produced the Daughters of men. Before the flood people lived very long lives. It is recorded that Cain built a city, that Jabel dwelt in tents and had cattle, that Jubal was the father of those who played the harp and flute and Tubal Cain forged tools from bronze and iron. Noah By the time Noah was born it seems that the righteous had mingled with the unrighteous this time is called The Days of Noah by Jesus. Out of all the people on the earth only Noah was righteous before God. 1

2 The Flood The wickedness of man was so great that God decided to destroy man from the earth except for Noah and his family. The Tower of Babel It is amazing that the first major event recorded after the flood was the building of the Tower of Babel... how soon man had reverted to bad ways. It was at this point that God made people speak in different languages. People formed groups with those they understood and spread across the world. Cities were built and places to worship false Gods. Abraham God saw that Abraham was a man of faith and told him to leave the city he was living in and to go to a new land. He made key promises to Abraham which affect how we understand much of what came after. Abraham was promised a blessing through Isaac - the promised son by Sarah - but the ultimate blessing through Jesus. Abraham also had other sons, Ishmael through Hagar and 6 others with Keturah. They were the ancestors of some of the Arab nations, but Isaac was the ancestor of the Jewish nation. Jacob and Esau Jacob and Esau were twins, they were Abraham s grandsons. It was not Esau the firstborn who the promises would go through, but Jacob. God said that the elder would be ruled by the younger. Esau became the father of some more Arab nations, and Jacob had 12 sons who eventually became the 12 tribes of Israel (God changed Jacob s name to Israel). Joseph was the 2 nd youngest son and favoured by his father. Because his brothers were jealous, they sold him but God blessed him and made him prosper in Egypt. Joseph helped prepare the way for all the others when they had learnt their lessons and their characters had improved. A drought forced Joseph s family to Egypt where they were reunited with Joseph. The family decided to stay in Egypt. Moses After the Israelites had been in Egypt for several hundred years, God saw their affliction and chose Moses to lead them out. Moses could have had the treasures of Egypt. Hebrews 11 tells us that Moses refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh s daughter...he regarded disgrace FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt. Moses turned his back on worldly wealth and fame, but he gained a treasure that was far greater. He 2

3 knew that his hope was in the future and understood the promises about Jesus. Due to their lack of faith God made the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years. It seems that it was during this time that Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible which have become known as the Torah (meaning law, instruction, commandments) or the Pentateuch (5 volumed book). God gave Moses the 10 commandments and other laws for them to live by. God wanted people to serve Him from their hearts, but in case they didn t, they had the law to make them do the right thing. But keeping the law became an obstacle in itself as some thought that obedience to rules was what God wanted and would gain them righteousness, rather than being motivated by love. John 1 v 17 tell us that the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Judges The Promised Land Moses came to represent the law. It would not be someone who represented the law that led the Israelites into the promised land, but Joshua, who was a type of Jesus. The Israelites were faithful to God under the leadership of Joshua, but after he died and those of his company, most of the Israelites went back to bad ways. After Joshua there was a period when Judges ruled Israel and every man did what was right in his own eyes. There were faithful men and women in this period such as Deborah, Barak, Gideon and Sampson. The Kingdom of Israel God s plan had been for the Israelites to be a light to the nations, to convert the rest of the world, and for a short time the Kingdom of God had a type in the kingdom of Israel. Saul became the first king followed by David a man after God s heart. God made more key promises to David that his greater descendant (Jesus) would eventually sit on his throne. Solomon was king after David and Israel rose to its greatest period of prosperity. Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem. The Prophets God sent prophets to the Israelites to deliver His messages and warnings. Many of the books of the Old Testament bear the names of the prophets. They were often persecuted by their fellow Israelites. Stephen said in Acts 7 v 52 Which of the prophets was not cruelly attacked by your fathers? and they put to death those who gave them the news of the coming of the Righteous One; whom you have now given up and put to death 3

4 The Captivity The peaceful period under King Solomon did not last and after Solomon s death, the Kingdom was split and became known as Israel in the North, and Judah in the South. Jerusalem was part of the kingdom of Judah. The Israelites again turned away from God so He allowed them to be taken into captivity by other nations. Daniel s Visions Daniel was captured and taken to Babylon. It was while he was there that God revealed to him amazing visions of the future concerning those who would rule the areas centred around Israel the great World Empires of the times to come. The detail and accuracy of these prophecies is more proof that God exists, is in control, and knows the future. As God had told Daniel in advance, Israel was successively ruled by the Babylonians, the Medes & Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, mixed nations then finally Jesus will come (Daniel 2 v 36-45) During the time of the rule of the Persian Kings, there arose a plot to kill all the Jewish people. God arranged for a beautiful young Jewish girl, Esther, to marry the king of Persia, and so the slaughter was prevented. Return from Captivity After 70 years in captivity, God allowed his people to return to their homeland of Israel. God chose a priest, Ezra, and the Persian king s butler, Nehemiah, to lead the Israelites back to Israel. They rebuilt the fallen city of Jerusalem, rebuilt the Temple, and instructed the people to worship God to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again. They encountered much opposition from the mixed tribes who now occupied Israel. During their time back in their land, the Israelites again began to leave the true worship of God. They intermarried with unbelievers, they cheated God by offering sick animals as sacrifices, and cheated the poor of the land. God sent the prophets again to instruct them in righteousness, and to give them wonderful prophecies of the coming Messiah. Some poorer Israelites were left behind when the others were taken captive, and intermarried with non-israelites, forming the mixed population around Galilee, who were later to be called Samaritans, despised by the pure Israelites around Jerusalem. Most of the Israelites returning from the captivity were from the tribe of Judah (taken by Babylon), and so all Israelites became known as Jews. The people again failed to love the Lord their God, and so God let the Greeks overrun them led by Alexander the Great. 4

5 After Alexander s death in 323BC, the empire was divided into 4. His general Ptolemy took over control of Egypt and Israel. The Ptolemies ruled, with some revolts, until 198BC, when a descendent of Seleucus (Antiochus III) from Syria, took over. He re-established the rights of the Jews, and exempted the priests and elders from taxes. There were many short-lived rulers of the area. Many brought in Greek culture and tried to 'hellenize' Jerusalem. The Maccabees In 167 BC Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem. A pig was sacrificed and false gods worshipped. Mattathias Maccabeas was the high priest and began a rebellion with his five sons. Mattathias died but his son Judas took over, the temple was eventually cleansed by the Jews who regained control of Jerusalem. Judas won a victory over the Syrian general Nicanor, and negotiated a treaty with Rome. Daniel had prophesied that The people who know their God shall be strong. The Jews commemorate the triumph of Judas with an annual feast called Hanukkah. The Maccabeans ruled for about 100 years. Different political groups arose called the Pharisees and Saducees. During this time some of the Jews started their own community at Qumran, where the 'Dead Sea Scrolls' were found. The Romans In 63 BC The Roman general Pompey took control of Jerusalem. The sacrificial practices were resumed under Roman rule. It is important to understand this period in order to understand the political scene in New Testament times. Jesus Christ And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. Jesus came as the light of the world... the one anticipated since the promise to Adam and Eve... the seed promised to Abraham and the prophesied son of David. God s plan from the beginning- to be our only way of salvation. (The purpose of this timeline is to give a visual understanding of the order of key events in Bible history. For more detailed explanations it is recommended to view Rob Hyndman s book which is online at ) 5

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