You’ve heard the story of Noah. You’ve watched the story of Moses on tv. You love the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. But how does it all fit together? How do you get from Noah to Moses to Daniel? Or maybe you’re unsure if it’s all true. Is it really history or just a bunch of made up stories? Please read my friend. I know it’s long but it’s important and somebody out there needs this today.
Ready? I hope so because I’m about to break the world record for most info ever to fill one blog post!
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) A great summary to start the big picture but so packed with theology we’ll revisit this at a later date. A part of God’s “creating” (which by the way the Hebrew word means “created from nothing”) was to create man and woman – Adam and Eve. They lived with God in the Garden of Eden. But God did not create robots. He gave man a free will. They could choose to be obedient to Him or not. They chose not. And sin entered the world and death through sin. (Romans 5:12) God had mercy and clothed them but banned them from The Garden to work a ground that was now cursed and filled with weeds (my farmer can attest to this). God also cursed the serpent who tempted them (Satan; see Rev. 20:2) and gave us the first clue of the gospel in Genesis 3:15. Go read it. It’s the first messianic prophecy. From this point forth Satan knew there would be a man that would crush him i.e.“bruise your head” while all Satan could do was “bruise his heel.” What he did not know is that it would be God himself in the person of Jesus Christ that would crush him. So Satan sets forth to thwart the plan, having something to do (I have no doubt) with Cain’s killing of Abel (Adam and Eve’s first children).
When Adam was 130 years old, Eve gave birth to Seth from whom a godly line of men came. This is the genetic line that leads us to Noah. Noah was a faithful and righteous man among none. A true hero in my book. He did all God commanded of him saving the lives of his family and two of every kind of animal from drowning in the most violent and torrential flood this world has ever seen. From Noah’s three son’s (Shem, Ham, and Japheth) came the nations of the world. God told them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. But they didn’t want to. (Genesis 11:4) So they purposed to come together as one people to build a city (these were no cave men) and a tower that reached the heavens, defying God and any need for Him! But God’s purposes always prevail. God decided to mix things up a bit and gave the different “family” groups (nations) different languages. “So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth” (Gen. 11:8).
If you follow Shem’s family line you get to Abram whom God called out of the land of Haran (located in modern day Turkey) into the land of Canaan, to which God promised to give to Abram and his descentants. This land included modern day Israel, Lebanon, and parts of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Though the Israelites do not currently occupy all that was promised, God does not go back on his promises. The land of Canaan is an “everlasting possession” given to Israel in a covenant promise (Gen. 17:8). God also promised Abram that he would make him into a great nation (the nation of Israel) and from his seed “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). How so? Christ came through the seed of Abram, no doubt a blessing to the entire world! When Abram was 99 years old God changed his name to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude” and promised the miraculous conception of a son, Isaac, through his wife Sarah. And when Isaac grew up he married Rebekah. They had twin boys, Esau and Jacob. (Sidenote: Abraham also fathered Ishmael through his wife’s servant but this was not God’s way. Yet God blessed Ishmael and from him come many of the Arab nations.)
From Jacob came twelve sons which became the twelve tribes of Israel. Through a series of devastating events Jacob’s son Joseph became second in command in the land of Egypt (God’s purposes prevailed yet again.). Because of Joseph’s God given wisdom and high rank he was able to save his brothers and their families from starvation during seven years of famine, moving them all to the land of Egypt. The Israelites spent 400 years in Egypt multiplying like crazy becoming a people group numbering most likely in the millions. But the Egyptian leaders forgot about Joseph and the good he had done for Egypt and enslaved the Israelites. The Israelites cried out to God and God heard them and sent Moses to deliver them. Ten plagues later (see Exodus 7 – 12) Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the desert where God spoke directly to the people giving them the 10 commandments and the laws they were to live by. This was the point at which God made them into a nation. God intended to lead them directly into the promised land but the people turned their backs on God so God said no. One generation later Joshua lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, the land of Canaan where they conquered the Canaanite people and established themselves in the place that was to be their everlasting possession. (God is faithful to his promises.) After Joshua’s death twelve different “judges” were used by God to try and enforce civil and military leadership over the Israelites. But it didn’t work and Israel wanted a King like all the other nations so God gave them King Saul, then King David (who wrote many of the Psalms), and then King Solomon (who wrote the book of Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs).
But Solomon had a weakness for the ladies, especially foreign ladies who brought their false gods and goddesses into the kingdom. Solomon did not wholly follow the LORD and therefore neither did his children. Division arose in the family and it split the kingdom in two. The northern territory became known as Israel and the southern territory became known as Judah (which included Jerusalem). This division allowed for two different lines of Kings (Christ’s genealogy is traced through the line of Judah). Both the northern and southern kingdoms turned away from God, serving and worshiping false gods and idols. Yet God continued to be patient with his people sending many prophets to warn them of coming judgment if the Israelites did not repent and turn back to Him (see Jeremiah 25:1-11). For example the prophet Isaiah prophesied God’s words (beginning in 740 BC) to the kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (in Judah). Elijah and Elisha prophesied to the kings of Israel. The prophet Jeremiah took his turn in Judah, then the prophet Ezekiel, and many others (see the last 12 books of the Old Testament).
But the Israelites would not listen to the prophets, killing many of them. They were unfaithful to God so the Lord sent judgment. The Assyrians overtook the northern kingdom in 722 BC and the Babylonians overtook the southern kingdom in 586 BC. Most of the Jews were exiled into these nations. Jeremiah sent a letter to encourage the exiles (see Jeremiah 29) reminding them that the judgment was only for a time, seventy years to be exact. Daniel was one of the exiles taken to Babylon in 605 BC (in modern day Iraq). He faithfully served God in Babylon during the Israelite’s 70 years of exile (even in the lions den) and God gave him many prophetic visions while there. He ranked high in the Babylonian kingdom and also in the Persian kingdom, which took over Babylon during the Jews 70 years of exile.
It was also during this time that Queen Esther (a Jewish woman chosen to marry a Persian king) saved the Jews from annihilation (read the book of Esther). And just as God had said, at the end of 70 years the Jews were allowed to go back to Jerusalem if they wanted (some didn’t want to) and led by Ezra and Nehemiah (see the books of Ezra and Nehemiah) they worked to rebuild the temple and the city. But they remained under heavy taxes by the Persian kings.
Then from about 331 – 63 BC they were under the Greeks (i.e. Alexander the great), and after that the Romans. When Christ was born it was Rome that ruled. And no prophet had been heard from for several hundred years. The Jews were hungry for the Word but didn’t recognize it when the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among them (John 1). The prophets had foretold of a Davidic King that would save them, cleanse them, and establish them. God had not forgotten them. But the Jews were looking for a King that would overthrow Rome, not a humble servant to die for them. Yet God is faithful to his promises as you see all throughout the Old Testament. And Christ will rule as King. He’s coming back (see Revelation 19:11-16). The question is will you rule with him or against? My friend, take note, this day and everyday, God is faithful to his promises.
If this touched you today, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment. It’s encouraging to not only me but others as well. Thanks friend!