Beulah Baptist Church
Saturday, November 18, 2017

Old Testament Theology

OLD TESTAMENT THEOLOGY

 

Introductory Remarks:

The world book dictionary says, theology is the study of God and His relations to man. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English language says that theology is the study of the nature of God and religious truth. Theology is a study of the various doctrines of the Bible. Voss sees theology as having four departments: there is the exegesis style, historical theology, systematic theology, and practical theology. It is best to study theology from all four areas if we are to gain a greater understanding of the truth of God’s Word.

 

The Bible begins, In the beginning God; in the one sense we could say that Moses gave no explanation in detail of who God is; and that’s because Moses assumed everyone knew who God is. But we will see that is not true especially in light of the other nations.

 

In the beginning what? Man is convinced that the beginning of all things began with mankind. But as Christians we know that God was before all things so in actuality the Bible is saying In the beginning of God’s relationship with man. Because God always was, there is no time limit with God.

 

Introduction to the Pentateuch:

 

The Pentateuch is comprised of five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In the OT the Pentateuch is called by different names such as the Law or Torah in Joshua 1:7. The book of the law of Moses [Joshua 8:31], the book of the law [Joshua 8:34], the book of the law of God [Joshua 24:26], the law of Moses [I Kings 2:3] and the book of the law and the Lord [II Chronicles]. In the NT it is called the book of the law in Galatians and the law of Moses in Luke, the law of the Lord in Luke.

The importance of the Pentateuch can be seen through three things. The religious importance, historical importance, and cosmic importance and we will look at the religious importance to start.

 

Religious Importance: the Pentateuch is the foundation of all subsequent divine revelations. Both Christianity and Judaism rest on the inspired revelation of the Pentateuch books. There are three primary names that we are introduced of God are Jehovah, Elohim, and Adonai. Christ is the main character of the Pentateuch as well as the rest of the Bible.

 

Historical Importance: is bound up with history and archaeology, and geography and anthropology. It is the history of redemption and it has all pervading purpose of including the historical backgrounds that are necessary and essential for preparing the stage for the coming of Jesus Christ. It is a Messiah centered history, a philosophy of Israel’s history. It includes the origin of the nation Israel. Babylonian cuneiform records the history of the flood.

 

Cosmic importance: the account of the creation of the world and man stands unique in all ancient literature. The unifying principle of the universe is one omnipresent and omnipotent God revealed in the Genesis account. Science is bound up of the how of creation and hold to the “big bang” theory of creation. Revelation alone senses the why of creation and the detail found in the Pentateuch says the universe exists because God made it and it has a redemptive purpose to it.

 

The Book of Genesis

The author of the book was Moses and the book was written to the people of Israel. The date that it was written was between 1450 and 1410BC. The key people in the book of Genesis are Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Joseph. The major theological themes in Genesis are the beginnings. We have the earth, people, universe, and sin and the beginning of God’s salvation. We also have the first account of disobedience to God. We have covenants and obedience. We will see the matter of prosperity discussed and true prosperity comes when we obey God. God started the nation of Israel to have a dedicated people in the world who would show the other nations what God was really like. He created the nation of Israel to prepare the world for the birth of Christ.

 

Theological outline for Genesis:

Creation, God, salvation, sin, mission, humanity, and hope all of these have beginnings in Genesis. This book was written at a time when the nations worshiped many gods. And you had fertility, war, and national gods. Israel had to learn a unique lesson was there God like the other gods with just a limited sphere of influence and should He be worshiped at only specific times of the year or was He somehow different from the gods of the other nations. The ancient world did not think of their gods in terms of morality, the creator gods could commit sexual sin and they gods also fought with one another and so Israel needed to learn of the moral nature of God. Ancient gods could be manipulated and this was what magic was all about. Israel had to learn the difference between magic and religion. Magic was an attempt to produce a response in the gods and to manipulate the god for a person’s own purpose. On the other hand, faith was and is submissive. Faith  trust God to know what is best and it recognizes that God is Sovereign and knows best how to supply our needs. The basis of the idolatry that was so pervasive in the ancient world had to do with the fact that many of these gods had some sort of material substance in order that they could be seen. The Jewish people and Christians have a God who is a spiritual being and He must be worshiped in spirit. The gods of the ancient world were cruel and uncaring and they did not inspire no true devotion and no personal relationship with them was even possible. They could not bring about any significant change in people’s lives. Therefore the nations saw little need for morality and human life was held in low regard.

 

 

 

Genesis was written to show how different the true God really is; He is the Creator of all the world and He is thus ruler of all people and nations. Man’s trouble results from human rebellion – sin. And not from God’s imperfection or immorality or lack of concern, God created us and His world is very good. Sin is immoral and person centered, so this makes our potential great for we are created in His image and given responsibility to care for God’s universe. Our sin faces God’s punishment. He neither ignores those He created nor tolerates their sin. And our sin hurts us, other people, and it breaks fellowship with God. God seeks constantly to restore relationships with us and He cares enough to teach us about the danger of sin by punishing us for sin. So our hope lies in God’s redemption. He began to work with Abraham and his family to make redemption possible for everyone. Such redemption depends on God’s grace and love and not on human effort or human rights. Our identity centers in missions. God’s people are blessed so that they can be a blessing to all people.

God acts according to His own moral nature. He is not arbitrary, malicious, cruel, or uncaring, He works redemptively in our history to restore sinful, needy people to Himself.  In the OT the story of the Lord dealing with us is actually a story of grace.

 

How the Book of Genesis applies to us today:

 

It calls God’s people today to rediscover our identity anew. We are creatures of the One Creator and as such we need to accept responsibility to care for the world God has created for us and to join in God’s missionary purposes of blessing all nations. And to live as faithful family members of God’s people. We should recognize our sin as rebellion and look to Him for grace and redemption. We should let Him lead us to abandon the ways of hatred and jealousy and follow His ways of love. In faith we should follow the examples of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. We should let the Sovereign God rule our own history while we serve Him and His people.

 

The timeline application:

 

Creation is undated because no one knows when creation took place and we can say the same thing about Noah and the flood. The third item is the birth of Abraham in 2166BC. Abraham enters Canaan in 2091BC. The birth of Isaac took place in 2066. Next comes the story of Jacob and Esau and they were born 2006BC. Jacob fled to Haran in 1929BC. Joseph was born in 1915BC and then he was sold into slavery in 1898BC. Joseph rules in Egypt in 1885BC and the last item in the timeline is the death of Joseph in 1805BC. All times are circa times meaning approximate.

 

The Book of Exodus

 

The purpose of the Book of Exodus was is to record the events of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and their development as a nation. The book was written by Moses was between 1450 and 1410BC. The book was written in the wilderness during Israel’s wandering somewhere in the Sinai peninsula. Some of the key people in the book of Exodus are Moses, Miriam, Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s daughter, Jethro, Aaron, Joshua, and Bezalel. Some of the special features in Exodus are that Exodus relates more miracles than any other OT book and it is noted for containing the Ten Commandments.

 

Major theological themes of Exodus:

 

The first theme is that of slavery and the Israelites were slaves for 400 years. Pharaoh oppressed the Israelites cruelly and they prayed for God to deliver them. Which brings us to the next major theological theme rescue and redemption. God rescued Israel through the leadership of Moses and mighty miracles. The Passover celebrates their escape from slavery. Next is the theme of guidance. God guided Israel out of Egypt by using the plagues and Moses heroic courage. The next major theme is the Ten Commandments and God’s Law system had three parts; the Ten Commandments were the first part containing the absolutes of spiritual and moral life. The second part was the civil law giving the people rules to manage their lives. The third part was the ceremonial law showing them patterns for building the Tabernacle and worship. Then we have the nation formed by God to be the source of truth and salvation to all  the world. His relationship to His people was loving, yet firm. Israel had no form of government when it left Egypt so God had to instruct them in their constitutional laws and their daily practices. He showed them how to worship and how to have national holidays.

 

Theological outline of Exodus:

 

Ex. 20:40 – says that Israel lived in Egypt 430 years and after Joseph died according to Ex. 1:8 that there arose a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph. Being that they were located in the northeast part of the country called Goshen, the Israelites were at the doorway were foreign armies would enter to pillage and rape and kill. So nationalistic rulers saw these non-Egyptians as a threat to their national security. So they changed the Hebrew status and they became an oppressed people. The sophisticated culture of Egypt and its enticing religious system that had deities that abounded, there was a god for just about everything.

So new gods and religions could be accommodated along with the old ones. Polytheistic thinking expressed itself in a variety of ways. All forms of life took on mystical and magical meanings. All of life was saturated and regulated by religion in Egypt even Pharaoh was considered a god. So how do a simple people maintain their own simple faith in an unseen invisible God with no ceremony of system of priests in a situation like that in Egypt? When that faith teaches covenant and promise how long can the people believe it when they become subjugated to others? How do enslaved people keep believing in their God when they are not the victors? First, they could have given up and became like the nations around them. Second they could have let the God of their fathers be like the other gods and not deny them. A third option was that of monotheism. Living apart from the culture around them and maintain their faith in God and very likely there were Israelites in all three categories when Moses came on the scene. God called Moses to serve and it is difficult to know the precise dates but surely it was no earlier than 1450BC and no later than 1250BC. Egypt was at its zenith in military power and political glory. The pyramids were over a thousand years old at the time of Moses. Engineering, architect, and medicine were all extremely well advanced. Tutmoses and Ramses II are the Pharaoh’s suggested at the time of the Exodus.

God used Moses to lead the people out of Egypt and he became for the Hebrew people the most influential person in the OT. The Book of Exodus reminds the Israelite people how God kept His promise to Abraham and how He tabernacled with them. It would remind them that He was a holy God who demanded first place in their lives. It would remind them of His might and His power. Because He acted in such mighty deliverance He had the right to demand their utmost loyalty and their obedience.

 

Six theological conclusions in the Book of Exodus:

1] God is the covenant maker and keeper.

2] God is Lord of history

3] God is the compassionate deliverer of the oppressed.

4] God calls and uses committed leaders.

5] God is holy and demands righteous living.

6] God cares about worship and dwells among His obedient people.

Exodus depicts God as a covenant making God who keeps His covenants. He is a covenant renewing God, when people sin and break the covenant, He will forgive and renew if people repent. He is also depicted as the Lord of history.

 

How the book of Exodus applies to us today;

 

The Book of Exodus centers our attention on the act of deliverance by God the only living God who is ruler over all. It shows what He can do through the life of just one person. He is the God who acts in history to reveal Himself and redeem His people. He has a purpose for His people. The God who acted in history to redeem His people is the same God who redeems us through the blood of Christ. It was no accident that Jesus chose to use the two elements of the Passover to institute the Lord’s Supper by observances symbolize death and deliverance. Both reflect mankind’s plight and God’s mighty deed of grace and redemption. Exodus reminds us that people are oppressed today and that God cares and is working to redeem them. Exodus leads us to understand that He is a covenant making and covenant keeping God and our part is to be set apart for Him and His purposes. It leads us to commit ourselves to intercessory prayer on behalf of others.

 

Timeline applications of Exodus;

1530BC – birth of Moses

1450BC – the time of the burning bush and the time Moses returned to Egypt, it was the

                 time of the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea, and it is the time of the

                 Ten Commandments

-          and it was also the time of the Tabernacle being set up and consecrated

 

 

The Book of Leviticus

 

Is a handbook for the priests and Levites outlining the order for religious worship and it is a guidebook for holy living for the Hebrews. Some of the key people are Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. The special feature in Leviticus is the word holiness is mentioned 152 times and it is mentioned more than in any other books of the Bible.

 

Major theological themes in Leviticus:

 

1] Sacrifice and offerings

     - there are five kinds of offerings that fulfill two purposes and the purpose of to show

       forth praise and thanksgiving and the other purpose is atonement the covering and

       removal of guilt and sin.

-          animal offerings demonstrated that the person was giving his or her life God by means of the sacrificed animal.

2] Worship

     - seven feasts were designated religious and national holidays and these events teach

        us to worship God in celebration and in quiet dedication.

3] Health

     - civil rules for handling food, disease, and sex were taught

4] Holiness

     - it means to be separated or devoted, God removed His people from Egypt and now

        He was removing Egypt from the people.

5] Levites

     - they were the ministers who regulated the moral, civil, and ceremonial laws and

       supervised the health, justice, and welfare of the nation.

 

Theological outline for Leviticus:

How can sinful people know God and enter into His presence?

The people of Israel lived in a sinful world and they knew themselves to be tainted by sin, so how could they enter again into God’s presence. Because they sought to respond in faith to God and live in a proper relationship to God’s covenant.

Levitcus helps to define the way in which sinful people can relate to a holy God. This book is the centerpiece of the Pentateuch.

The theological background of Genesis and Exodus raised new questions for the Israelites because they knew this God to be different from the God’s of other nations. God had provided them with a place to worship and guidelines for that worship. But they also knew they did not live up to God’s expectations, they were sinners, how were they to deal with their sins. How did they regain God’s favor? What is proper worship for sinful people?

In Leviticus God encouraged the people to center their lives around His presence and He gave them instructions for worship so that His people could continue to meet with Him in the center of the camp. Leviticus reveals the Holy God and allows us to know Him and enter into His presence. The book of Leviticus offers four theological teachings;

1.      The grace of God. 2. The importance of preparation for meeting God.

3.      The presence of God. 4. The necessity of righteous living.

In His grace, He showed Israel how to come into His presence. The emphasis in Leviticus is on holiness, purity, and cleansing. And this shows the importance of preparation for worship. The laws in the book point to the importance of righteous living. This book shows us how to love our neighbor as ourselves and how to prepare ourselves for worship and how to love God with all our heart.

 

How Leviticus Applies To Us Today:

 

The Book of Leviticus reminds us of the eternal realities of life the presence of God and our need to know Him, Leviticus 1-16 could be recorded love the Lord your God. Leviticus 17-27 teaches us how to love of neighbor as ourselves. God pursues the sinner and the OT as well as the NT to redeem us. We must approach God with the same reverence as those in the wilderness. We must come before Him in purity and our hearts must be cleansed through the blood of Jesus.

 

Timeline for Leviticus:

1450BC – all of the activities we read about in Leviticus happened during this very busy

                 year.

 

The Book of Numbers

 

This book was written by Moses and to the people of Israel. The purpose of the book is to tell the story of how Israel prepared to enter the Promised land and to tell the story of how they sinned and prepared to enter again.

Key people; Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Eleazer, Korah, Balaam.

Key Places: Promised Land, Kadesh-Barnea, Mount Hor, plains of Moab.

 

Major theological themes in Numbers:

1. The census; Moses counted the people of Israel twice. The first census was to organize

     the people into marching units. The second census was to prepare them to conquer the

     Promised Land.

2. Rebellion – spies sent out and the Israelites refuse to enter the Promised Land.

3.Wanderings – because they rebelled they spent 40 years of wandering so the first

                           generation could die off.

4.Canaan – it is the Promised Land, the land of the covenant.

 

Theological Outline:

This book carries on the redemptive dealings of God with His people as they come to get ready to enter the Promised Land.

It is a remarkable story of failure and forgiveness this book addresses a people who were a sorry excuse for an army of the Lord. They were materialistic self-centered warriors who fainted at every trial. The success of their military effectiveness did not come because of their increase in Numbers, rather as a result in the increase of their faith in God.

Israel had important options that lay before them. First of all, they could except the status quo and try to establish life without risk trying to enter the Promised Land. Second, they could retreat into the past even though t meant eternal slavery and forfeiture of God’s promises. Their third option was they could continue complaining and fighting for power and prestige among them without facing the task God had given them. Fourth, they could try to set up their own religious community with their own rules and worship patterns they invented themselves rather than what God commanded. This way they could avoid the contamination of the world and avoid the challenge of obeying God. Fifth, was they could find the faith to cut themselves off from the pattern of their fathers and put their faith in God and come to be the people God always wanted them to be despite their rebellious spirit. Proper worship is an identifying mark of God’s people. The only hero of the wilderness wanderings was God. For all of Israel and its leaders failed God at times.

History in Numbers is the narrative of God’s amazing ability to salvage victory out of failure and to maintain the requirements of righteousness and holiness even in the face of an unstable and double-minded generation. Increase in faith gave hope for history no amount of human intervention of human strength could overcome the Word.

Numbers calls the leaders of God’s people to faithfulness and it shows that God will discipline rebellious leaders and it shows that no leader can lead without God. Numbers is a book of hope for a rebellious people. God’s history is a history of hope.

 

How Numbers applies to us today;

God’s principles of divine power and grace can overcome the failure of imperfect but developing faith. In the frailty and confusion of these Israelites we may see a mirror image of ourselves in the warfare of faith. We can come to a clearer understanding that our God is equal to any trial of faith and rebellion. From Numbers we can learn eight different things;

1.      Despite our rebellion God will fulfill His promise and purpose

2.      Although God remains true to His promises He will punish an unfaithful generation.

3.      Punishment administered by God can prepare us for greater task

4.      God’s faithful and wise presence is the center of all life.

5.      Faith in God brings necessities.

6.      We are to expect ordained leaders and realize that God will punish unfaithful leaders.

7.      Worship is the central activity of God’s people and should be properly planned and organized.

8.      Hope is God’s lasting Word.

 

Timeline Application;

1450BC – first census taken

1430BC – Aaron dies

1410BC – second census taken and Joshua appointed Moses successor and directions for

                 settlement in Canaan are given.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book of Deuteronomy

 

 

The purpose of this book was to remind the people of what God has done and to encourage the people to dedicate their lives to Him.

Key people; Moses and Joshua

Key place: valley of Arabah in Moab

 

Major theological themes:

 

1.      History – a recounting of God’s deliverance from Egypt

2.      Laws   - a review of God’s Laws for His people

3.      Love – God’s faithful love is shown more than His punishment

4.      Choices – His people must choose the path of obedience

5.      Teaching – God commanded the Israelites to teach their children His ways.

 

Theological Outline:

How do the people of God respond when God fulfills His promise a new generation faced a new stage of God’s history having to enter the Promised Land without their leader, Moses. Moses preached three sermons to help answer the new generations questions. See

Ch. 1:6-4:43; 4:44-26:68; 29:1-30:20.

Would they accept the teachings of Deuteronomy as God’s gracious gift of life in the new land under God, the central theme in the Book of Deuteronomy is the loyal love of God for His people. God’s holiness and righteousness are set forth in the moral order of God’s laws. Election and the gift of the land are the major elements of the covenant. God is the Sovereign Lord of the covenant and His people are His servants.

The command to love is based on the prior commitment of God’s love for His people. Our love for God is evidenced by a heart response, which comes from hearing and doing God’s Word. God expects the highest ethical and moral standards from His people. Obedience to God’s way of life is necessary for the unity, purity, and effectual witness of God’s people. Disobedience disrupts the relationship of God to the community of faith and to the world. The apostasy of the people led to captivity and exile under Assyria and Babylon. We do reap for our disobedience.

 

How Deuteronomy applies to us today;

 

This Book shows us eight important facts that apply to our lives today;

            1] It shows us that God is Sovereign Lord over history, nature, and our lives.

            2] God loves us enough to show us how to enter a relationship with Him by faith.

            3] God gives abundantly, to provide the needs of His people.

            4] God wants and requires His to be solely and wholly devoted to Him.

            5] We should love God with the totality of our being and share that love with

                 others.

            6] God has chosen us by His grace to be a special and unique people to show His

                 nature and love to the world.

            7] God has given us guidance, which is His Word, as how to fulfill the purpose of

                 being witnesses of His character.

            8] God blesses those who obey Him and judges those who rebel against Him.

 

Timeline application:

1410BC – Moses preaches three sermons to the people.

 

The Book of Joshua

 

The purpose of Joshua was to give the history of Israel’s conquest of the Promised land. The author was Joshua. The key people in Joshua are: Joshua, Rahab, Achan, Phinneas, and Eleazer. The key places in Joshua are: Jericho, Ai, Mount Ebal, Mount Gerazim, Gibeon, Gilgal, Shiloh and Shechem.

 

Major Theological Themes;

1.      Success

God gave success to the Israelites when they followed His master plan.

2.      Faith

3.      Guidance

4.      Leadership

Joshua is an example of an excellent leader. His confidence was in God’s strength, courageous in the face of opposition and he was willing to follow God.

5.      Conquest

God commanded the Israelites to conquer the Canaanites and take all their land

Completing this mission would have fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham and

Brought judgment on the evil people living there unfortunately Israel never finished the job.

 

Theological Outline:

When the Book of Joshua was written the Israelites were living in the land of Canaan, the place of Israel’s rest. God wanted the people to remember what God had done in bringing them out of bondage and into their rest. He wanted the people to teach their children about how to worship and love God. God knew of Israel’s ability to quickly forget all that God had done for them and this fact is bore out in the book that follows Joshua. This proved how much the people needed a constant reminder. This is why Israel was invaded and suffered greatly because they were punished for there wrongdoing.  God used the story of Achan and his subsequent punishment to teach that the Holy Land in which God let them live required allegiance on the part of God’s people. The final aspect of this book points to the fact that all the nations would be blessed in Abraham through Jesus Christ. [Gen. 12:1-3] Properly understood the book still has meaning when read in the richness of God’s revelation of Christ and in the brightness of the future hope Christ has given us. The message of covenant faithfulness found in Joshua applies even today to NT Christians, because the covenant was a covenant of grace and not of works. Rahab found grace because she cared for God’s people and she is listed in Christ genealogy.

 

 

How Joshua applies today:

As God was present with Israel in Joshua’s day under the symbol of the ark of the covenant, so God is now even more effectively with His people through Christ and the Holy Spirit and will lead them into the blessings in store for them.

As God gave Israel its promised inheritance so He will give to His NT people an inheritance that outshines that of Israel for the meek will inherit the earth.

As God demanded loyalty and obedience to what He commanded in Joshua’s time so He demands the same for His people today with a greater urgency than ever before.

 

Timeline application:

1410BC – entrance into the Promised Land and conquest of the Promised Land

1400BC – the apportionment of the Promised Land

1390BC – Joshua exhorts the people to covenant loyalty in the land

 

The Book of Judges

The purpose for Judges is to show that God’s judgment of sin is certain and to show that His forgiveness of sin and restoration is just as certain for those who repent. The author of Judges is Samuel. The key people are: Othneil, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Jephtath, Samson, and Delilah.

 

Major Theological Themes

1.      Decline and Compromise

2.      Decay and Apostasy

3.      Defeat and Oppression

4.      Repentance

5.      Deliverance and Heroes

 

Theological Outline of Judges

In the exodus God fulfilled His promises to Abraham both the promises of a people and a land. At Sinai He established His covenant, that covenant held these people together during the time of the Judges. Israel had made the transition from a wandering displaced people to a settled people with structure and institutions. Still Israel remained a loosely organized group of tribes. Serious military threats from Israel’s enemies were the only stimuli to break down this fierce independence. At times of danger a judge would appear led by the Spirit of the Lord, the inspired leader would rally the clans and lead the warriors into battle and defeat the enemy. This leader’s authority was temporary and rested in the qualities of God’s Spirit. When the danger was passed the Israelites would fall back into apostasy. If Israel remained faithful God would give them victory, if they disobeyed Israel would face defeat. God alone was responsible for Israel’s existence therefore He alone deserved Israel’s worship and obedience. God’s kingdom is God’s rule over His chosen people.

 

How Judges applies to us today:

Judges presents a graphic demonstration of the character and nature of God. He is personal, transcendent, righteous, purposeful, faithful He is the Creator of the universe and of the people of faith. Therefore He demands exclusive worship and service from us. What God has promised He will perform and we are to be obedient to Him and accept the conditions of His covenant and become like Him in character and attitude this is righteousness. Anything else is disobedience. Confession of sin and repentance brings us back into fellowship with God. Something of how God’s Spirit works may also be learned from this Book of Judges the prime mover in God’s deliverance is God’s Spirit and this becomes true not only in this book but also throughout the rest of the Bible. This book also points to the fact that no matter what political kingdom people today live under the kingdom of God will only come to their lives as they submit to the rule of God.

 

Timeline application;

1390BC – time of Judges began and we have the story of Othniel

1332BC – the story of Ehud

1225BC – the story of Deborah

1150BC – the story of Gideon

1115BC – the story of Abimelech

1110BC – the story of Jephtath

1100-1075BC – the story of Samson

 

The Book of Ruth

The purpose of Ruth is to show how three people remain strong in character and true to God even when the society around them was collapsing. The key people are: Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. The key places are Moab and Bethlehem

 

Major Theological Themes

1.      Love and Loyalty

Ruth’s faithfulness to Naomi are a great example of this and Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz are all faithful to God and His laws and throughout the story we see God’s faithfulness to His people.

2.      Integrity

Ruth showed this by her clan break and by her work in the field for Naomi. Boaz showed his integrity by his moral standards and by following through on his commitments.

3.      Protection

We see this in God’s care for Naomi and Ruth.

4.      Prosperity and Blessing

Ruth and Naomi came to Bethlehem as poor widows but they soon became prosperous through Ruth’s marriage to Boaz. The greatest blessing was the quality of love and respect between Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi.

 

Theological Outline in Ruth:

There are times when we ask where is God in a time of crisis and great pain. Is there any affirmation of God’s power and presence in the life of His people when they are racked by the tragedies of life? The story of Ruth is the answer of God to such questions. Through the story of Ruth likely emerges from the early period of Israel’s monarchy its message is as timely as the daily newspaper. The key element in this subtle story is the character of Naomi. What happened to her and her family crisis betrays the faith, which can be awakened in our own struggle. Naomi’s bitterness is understandable in light of the fact of the tragedy she had endured and the fact that God’s presence must have seemed far from her since she had moved to a foreign land. Her parting words to her daughter-in-laws say that for her God’s blessings were in the past. None of God’s blessings could be found in her present tragic circumstances. The thing that made Naomi so bitter was that her husband and her two sons died and left her with two daughters-in-law to take care of.

 

Biblical narrative often uses element of surprise to emphasize the mystery of God we cannot program God. His Word always brings people closer to Himself. Trial and tragedy brings surprises and often surprising responses from God’s people and from God. Naomi’s family moved away from the Promised Land and God moved mysteriously with them. Trial and tragedy may cause people to lose faith at the moment but it cannot move God away from His people. The Moabites serve as OT models of wrong and tempting worship. They were very heavy into pagan worship. Yet the Moabite, Ruth became the heroine of the story and she is in the ancestry of the Messiah. Human categories and boundaries do not limit God. God relieved Naomi’s bitterness through working through Boaz and his kindness to Ruth. Through Boaz’s actions God became the hero of the story.

 

How Does Ruth Apply To Us Today:

1. Ruth gives us a realistic portrait of life with its tragedies and frustrations.

2. Loving loyalty may separate us from heritage and family; it can also lead us to God’s

    will for our life.

3. Ruth shows that God may use the hated enemy to bring about His purpose for us, we

     need to be good neighbors to all people.

4. God may surprise us as He works through us to help others.

5. God can be trusted in the darkest hour.

6. Despair may be the only response we can give in the hour of tragedy, despair is not the

    end of faith, Naomi became bitter, but God continued to work to bring her out of her

    despair and He will do the same for us. Moving us from despair to faith in His

    redemption.

 

Timeline Application:

1100BC – story of Ruth takes place.

 

I Samuel

The purpose of I Samuel was to record the life of Samuel, Israel’s last judge and the reign and decline of Saul the first king. Also to record the choice of preparing David to be Israel’s greatest king and the author of I Samuel is Samuel but the book also contains writings from the prophets Nathan and Gad.

The key people in the Book of I Samuel are: Eli, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, and David.

 

 

Major Theological Themes;

1. Theological theme of king;

     Because Israel suffered from corrupt judges and priests the people wanted a king, they

     wanted to be organized like the surrounding nations. Though it was against His

     original purpose, God chose a king for them.

2. God’s control;

     Israel prospered as long as the people regarded God as their true king, when the

     leaders strayed from God’s Law, God intervened in their personal lives and

     overruled their actions. In this way God maintained ultimate control over Israel’s

     history.

3. Leadership;

     God guided His people using different forms of leadership; judges, priests, prophets,

     and kings. Each person He used provided different styles of leadership, yet the success

     of each depended on their devotion to God.

4. Obedience;

     To obey is better than sacrifice and God wants His people to obey, serve, and follow

     Him with a whole heart.

 

Theological Outline:

Did God choose David and his descendants to lead Israel in Judah?  Listen to tape 3/1

The Books of I and II Samuel deal with the central themes of the Bible. There are three central themes in the Word of God: 1] the activity of God in our history. 2] the consequences of human sin and 3] the grace of God that is greater than all our sin.

 

How I Samuel applies to us today;

1. Reminds us that God is not tied to political systems and help us to see that God is

     supreme.

2. It points to the fact that events can never be separated from the perspective of those

    who witness and interpret them.

3. These books call us to examine our biases and our views when we are prone to

     criticize others.

4. They remind us to look for the hand of God at work even in the lives of those we

    distrust.

5. They challenge us to confess that God is in our every day world.

 

Timeline Application:

1070BC – birth of Samuel

1060BC – the Lord calls Samuel

1040BC – Saul is chosen as king and Samuel anoints Saul.

1030BC – Samuel reproves Saul and God rejects Saul

1020BC – David is anointed king and he kills Goliath

1015BC – the death of Samuel

1011BC – the death of Saul

 

 

 

 

 

 

II Samuel

The purpose was to record the history of David’s reign and demonstrate effective leadership under God and to show that one person can make a difference and show the personal qualities that please God. To show David as an ideal leader of an imperfect kingdom and foreshadow Christ who will be the ideal leader of a new and perfect kingdom.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1. Kingdom growth

     Under David’s leadership the kingdom grew rapidly and with growth came many

     changes from tribal independence to central government. From the leading of the

     judges to a monarchy. From a decentralized worship to worship at Jerusalem.

2. Personal greatness

     David’s popularity increased rapidly and he knew that the Lord was behind this

     because God wanted to pour out blessings in Israel.

3. Justice

4. Consequences of sin

5. Feet of clay

 

Timeline Application:

1011BC – David made king of Judah

1005BC – David made king of Israel

990BC – David commits adultery with Bathsheba; we have the birth of Solomon

985BC – death of Absalom

 

I and II Kings

Introduction to I Kings;

The purpose was to contrast the lives of those who lived for God against those who refused to do so through the history of the kings of Israel and Judah. The author is unknown. The key people in I Kings are: David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Jereboam, Elijah, Ahab, Jezebel.

 

Introduction to II Kings;

The purpose of II Kings was to demonstrate the fate of all who refuse to accept God as their true leader. The author is unknown. The key people are: Elijah, Elisha, Shunemite woman; Naaman, Jezebel, Jehu, Joash, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Mannaseh, Josiah, Jehoakim, Zedikiah, and Nebuchadnezzar.

 

Major Theological Themes in I Kings;

1. The King

     Solomon’s power, wisdom, and achievements brought honor to the Israelite nation and

      to God.

2. The Temple

3. Other gods

 

 

4. The prophets message

    The prophet’s responsibility was to confront and correct any deviation from God’s

    Law. Elijah was a bolt of lightening to the rebellious nation.

5. Sin and repentance

 

Major Theological Themes in II Kings;

1. Elijah

     The purpose of his ministry was to restore respect for God and His message and he

     stood firmly against the evil kings of Israel’s history. He revealed both God’s

     judgment sin and reveal God’s mercy.

2. Idolatry

     Every evil king in both Israel and Judah encouraged idolatry and these kings sought

     priests and prophets they could control and manipulate to there own advantage.

3. Evil kings versus Good kings.

     The northern kingdom, Israel, had nineteen evil kings and no good ones. The southern

     kingdom, Judah, had twelve evil kings and eight good ones. Only 20% of the kings

     followed God. The good kings spent their time undoing the evil done by the evil kings

 

Theological Outline of I/II Kings:

These books provide a prophetic illustration of the history of Israel from the reign of Solomon to the thirty seventh year of Jehoakin in Babylonian captivity. The reign of Solomon was one of unprecedented glory, however, Solomon’s glory stem mainly from the blessings of God upon him for David’s sake rather than for Solomon’s own personal goodness. Although Solomon loved the Lord his devotion was tainted by disobedience. In his latter life his disobedience led to his apostasy caused the kingdom to be divided in the days of Rehoboam.

Israel, the northern kingdom was born in sin. Its first king, Jereboam, led the people from the true worship of God to a false worship of God under the fertility cap that involved ritual prostitution. Israel never had a king that did right in the sight of the Lord and never experienced a revival of true religion. In contrast many kings of Judah were devoted to God though not with a perfect heart. Moreover Judah experienced revivals from time to time in which people were brought back to God. The unprecedented wickedness of Manasseh’s reign led Judah to cross the line of God’s mercy. Thereafter, He marked Judah for destruction. Even the repentance of Manasseh and the godly reforms of Josiah could not avert Judah’s destruction.

 

Fertility religion [worship of Baal] was popular because of its sensual appeal and its easy access into high places and God’s people were enticed to worship Baal and also were encouraged to adopt the religious practices of their conquerors.

With the fall of the nation and the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the nations leaders and citizens despair threatened to conquer the people. The God of Israel appeared to be dead, however the inspired prophets called upon the people to worship the Lord God of Israel and pointed out that their political problems were due to the disobedience of the people of God because of their compromise of true worship. The prophets wrote I/II Kings to call their nation to God, especially they used the books to encourage the Israelites who would be brought back from captivity and establish themselves in the land in full obedience to God. This called for the people to develop wholehearted obedience to God. The main purpose of the prophets was to show the overthrow of the Hebrew kingdom because of their sin. Those who reject God He rejects. He judges those who disobey Him. These books magnify the prophets to rebuke sin. Sin is whatever separates God’s people from Himself and the prominent sin of the kings was Baalism. God wants all sin put away by His people.

God’s covenant with David was both certain and conditional. Disobedience on the part of David’s descendents would result in chastisement but not forfeit of the covenant. Even when Manasseh’s sin caused the people to be exiled God maintained the light in David even in exile. God’s faithfulness led to the sending of the Christ and ultimately to the fulfillment in Christ of all of God’s redemptive promises.

 

How I/II Kings applies to us today:

1. They focus our attention on God’s Sovereign control of history to fulfill His kingdom

     purposes.

2. They show us that obedience to God with all our hearts is the only basis for His

     blessing

3. To turn from sin because it separates us from God and hinders His purpose for us.

4. To fulfill our own role as spokespersons for God rebuking sin and inspiring faith in

     God and to use these books to call our nation to God

 

Timeline application:

971BC – death of David, Solomon made king and praised for his wisdom

967-956BC – Solomon builds the Temple

931BC – death of Solomon; Reheboam made king

870BC – contest between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel

860BC – calling of Elisha

850BC – Elijah take up in a whirlwind

841BC – death of Jezebel

798BC – death of Elisha

732BC – captivity of Israel by Assyria

586BC – fall of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar

 

Contest between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel

The main purpose of this contest was to show that Jehovah is the One true God and is superior over all other pagan gods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I/II Chronicles

 

Introduction to I Chronicles;

The purpose of I Chronicles was to unify God’s people and to trace the Davidic line and to teach that genuine worship ought to be the center of individual and national life. The author was Ezra and it was written to the people of Israel. The key people are David and Solomon. The key places are Hebron, Jerusalem, and the Temple.

 

Introduction to II Chronicles;

The purpose for II Chronicles was to unify the nation around true worship of Jehovah by showing His standard by judging kings. Righteous kings of Judah and religious rivals under their rule are highlighted and the sins of evil kings are exposed. The author was Ezra and it was written to Israel. The key people are Solomon, Queen of Sheba, Rehoboam, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Jeherun, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Mannasseh, and Josiah. The key places are Jerusalem and the Temple. II Chronicles includes a detailed record of the Temple’s construction that is not recorded in I Chronicles.

 

Major Theological Themes in I Chronicles:

1. Israel’s history – the retelling of  Israel’s history in the genealogies and the stories of

     kings, Ezra laid down the true spiritual foundation for the nation. God kept His

     promises.

2. God’s people – by listing the names of people in Israel’s past God established Israel’s

     true heritage. All one family in Adam, one nation in Abraham, and one priesthood in

     Levi, and one kingdom under David.

3. David the King – his story show that he was God’s chosen leader. His devotion to God

     the Law, the Temple, true worship, the people, and justice sets the standard for what

     God’s chosen king should be.

4. True worship

5. The priests – were to lead the people according to God’s Law.

 

Major Theological Themes in II Chronicles:

1. The Temple – the temple was a symbol of God’s presence and set aside for worship

     and prayer.

2. Peace – as Solomon and his descendents were faithful to God they experienced victory

     in battle, success in government, and peace with the other nations. Peace was the

     result of the people being unified and loyal to God.

3. Prayer – after Solomon died the kingdom was divided when a king led the nation into

     idolatry the nation suffered and when they prayed to God for deliverance and turned to

     Him from their sinful ways God delivered them.

4. Reform – some of the kings turned to God and led the people in spiritual revival,

     renewing their commitment to God and reforming their society. Revival included the

     destruction of idols, obedience to the Law, and the restoration of the priesthood.

5. National collapse – in 586BC, the Babylonians completely destroyed the Temple and

     the formal worship of God was ended.

 

 

Theological Outline of I/II Chronicles:

Does God forgive His people and restore them to usefulness? Returning from exile and punishment and adrift in the sea of disillusionment they were tempted to doubt God because of past failures. They had gone from the military might of David and the material splendor of Solomon to the humiliation of the Babylonian captivity. Return from exile and renewal of the Temple had not fulfilled expectations of a new Israelite kingdom with a messianic ruler from the line of David. Thus the Jews needed to understand their roots and thus the recounting of God’s covenant with the people.

The writer of Chronicles depicts the ongoing plan of grace and redemption from Adam to the post-exilic community. He wanted fifth century Jews to see themselves as the true Israel of God. Chronicles thus uses history to Israel the lesson of history and their own past failures. God will not tolerate even from His chosen people. He will hear the prayer of  penitence. Renewed Identity is based on five doctrines;

            1. The nature of God

            2. The necessity of covenant commitment by His people

            3. The importance of worship

            4. The imperative of godly leadership

            5. The redemptive plan God is working through His people.

Because He is holy God punishes sin and demands righteousness. But God is merciful and loving in that he has abundant mercy for those that repent and seek God and His covenant. The call is not to shame in opportunities lost but to place hope in the future.

God’s leaders are to exhibit are to model sincere obedience and faithful worship calling the people to covenant commitment.

 

How I/II Chronicles applies to us today;

1. It reminds us of God’s holy and gracious work among His people

2. God calls us to understand His true nature, we must not confine God to our limited

     concept

3. God can use Chronicles to give identity to modern Christians as He did to the Jews in

     transition from exile.

4. God still wants to bring revival to His people.

5. As Christians we need to commit ourselves to holiness and obedience

6. Every believer is called to pass on the good news of God’s redemption

 

Timeline Application:

1011BC – David’s reign begins

1004BC – David made King of all Israel

1000BC – David brings the ark to Jerusalem

971BC – Solomon made king and David dies

967BC – Solomon builds the temple

960BC – Temple completed and Solomon dedicates it to God

931BC – Solomon dies

Timeline applications may differ because the Old Testament books are not arranged chronologically. The Old Testament is arranged by subject matter.

 

 

 

Ezra/Nehemiah

Introduction to Ezra

The purpose of the Book of Ezra was to show God’s faithfulness and the way He kept His promise to restore the people to their land. The key people in the book are Cyrus, Zerubabbel, Haggai, Zachariah, Darius, Aartaxeres I, and Ezra. The key places are Babylon and Jerusalem.

 

Major Theological Themes in Ezra:

1. The Jews return – by returning to Jerusalem from Babylon the people showed their

     faith in God’s promise to restore them as a people.

2. Re dedication – in 536BC, Zerubbabel led the people in rebuilding the altar and laying

     the Temple foundation. They reinstated daily sacrifices and annual festivals and

     rededicated themselves to a new spiritual worship of God.

3. Opposition – it came soon after the foundation was laid. Enemies hindered the work

     for over six years and finally their was a decree to stop the work altogether. This

     opposition severely tested their wavering faith.

4. God’s Word – when they returned to the land they were also returning to the influence

      of God’s Word through the prophets Haggai and Zachariah encouraged them while

     the preaching of Ezra built them up.

5. Faith and Action – the urging of Israel’s leaders motivated the people to complete the

     work. Faith led them to remove the sins of idol worship from their life.

 

Introduction to Nehemiah

The purpose of Nehemiah and it is the last of the historical books and it records the third return to Jerusalem after captivity and it tells how the walls were rebuilt and the people were renewed by their faith. The key people are Nehemiah, Ezra, Sanballet, and Tobiah. The key place was Jerusalem.

 

Major Theological Themes in Nehemiah

1. The Walls – walls were needed to protect the Temple from attack and preserve the

     worship in the Temple. God put the desire to rebuild the walls in Nehemiah’s heart.

2. Prayer – both Nehemiah and Ezra responded to problems with prayer.

3. Leadership – Nehemiah demonstrated excellent leadership because he was spiritually

    ready to heed God’s call.

4. Problems – they faced scorn, threats, and slander from the enemy as well as fear,

    conflict, and discouragement from the Jews

5. Repentance and Revival – although the wall was built the work wasn’t completed until

     the people rebuilt their lives spiritually.

 

Theological Outline of Ezra and Nehemiah:

God’s people faced threats from two directions; one, temptation to useless formalism and meaningless legalism threatened their spiritual life and two, just plain disinterest and indifference nagged them constantly. The world’s immoral values and system threatened to replace God’s standards. Mixed marriages thrived and they were a cause of unfaithfulness to God. This caused their relation to God to become as weak as water. Ezra and Nehemiah contain three stories. The first is the rebuilding of the Temple demonstrated the need and importance of worship. The second is the account of a renewed emphasis on God’s Law. The third major story is the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah’s actions show us that it does matter what people think of us and what people think of our faith. These two books contain the last century of Israel’s history that the Bible records. These two book inform us of seven essential doctrines:

            1. God’s Word is trustworthy and essential for faith.

            2. Worship is necessary for God’s people

            3. God’s disciples obey Him

            4. God gives His people leaders

            5. Opponents hinder God’s work

            6. Prayer is our response to God’s presence

            7. God is Sovereign

God’s Word must be studied and heeded as the only authoritative rule for living. Ezra and Nehemiah make it clear how important this is for God’s people. These words were written to fulfill the Word of the Lord. See Jeremiah.

Obedience to God is not optional it is an obligation. God’s people must strive for uniqueness sometimes at a very high cost. These books also show us that opposition to God’s work cannot be a reason for not doing God’s work. Intimate relations with those who are not of God’s people under mines godly character, correcting worldly entanglements can be sad and expensive, the Jews sending away their spouses and children must be understood in the right context. They separated themselves from the Gentile practices of their neighbors to seek God’s principles and the Lord filled them with joy.

 

How Ezra and Nehemiah apply to us today:

1. Teach the supreme necessity of devotion to worship, read, and pray to God

2. To make the necessary changes to live for God as the Jews learned in returning home

3. Worship and live according to God’s way and His Word regardless of the

    circumstances

4. To live separate from the world and yet avoid, racism, isolationism, separatism, like

    the Jews in relation to the Samaritans

5. To be willing to work hard and determine to complete what God calls us to

6. Insure God’s Word is taught by skilled, trained teachers like Ezra

7. Confess our sins and be willing to make corrections

8. Make God’s Word the determining factor in dealing with the sticky social issues of our

     day

9. Pray and work for revival

 

Timeline Application:

538BC – exiles return from Babylon

536BC – Temple building is begun

515BC – Temple is completed

457BC – Ezra journeys to Jerusalem

443BC – Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem, the wall around the city begins and is completed

 

 

Esther

The purpose for the book is was to demonstrate God’s sovereignty and His care for His people. The author is unknown but a lot of people believe Mordecai wrote the book. The key people are: Esther, Mordecai, Ahasuerus, Haman. The key place is the king’s palace in Shushan, Persia.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1. God’s Sovereignty – this book tells of God’s care for His people

2. Racial Hatred – the Jews in Persia had been a minority since their deportation from

    Judah about 100 years earlier, Haman was a descendent of King Agag an enemy of the

    Jews and his lust for pride and power drove him to hate Mordecai, Esther’s uncle. And

    so he convinced the king to kill all the Jews.

3. Deliverance – the Jews celebrate on February 28th the Feast of Purim. Purim means

    dice such as those used by Haman to set the date for the extermination of the Jews.

    God overruled using Esther to save the Jews.

4. Action – faced with death Esther and Mordecai set aside their fear to save the Jews

5. Wisdom – it took great wisdom for Mordecai to survive and understand Persian Law

     without compromising his integrity

 

Theological Outline:

This book addresses God’s people at one of their lowest points in history. Persia had replaced Babylon as the dominant world power and different groups of Jews had returned from Babylon and the temple had been rebuilt. Still Jewish return to political power and a major redemptive act of God for His people remained dreams of unreality. Therefore the Jews lived scattered all over the known world. Many wondered if an ancient faith had any relevance in the world in which they were living. The writer of Esther provided the Jews living under Persian rule a model for faith and life and a way to celebrate God’s work in their day. The book of Esther was inspired by God, even though the name of God does not appear in it. The triumphs of Esther and Mordecai show God’s faithfulness to deliver His people when they are faithful. God’s people do not have to have political power to celebrate God’s power. God’s power to deliver is greater than any power we will face.

 

How Esther applies to us today:

1. Esther stands as a beacon to secular people tempted to trade success in a secular

    society for the faith of the Father.

 

Timeline Application:

480BC – The king orders Haman to be hanged and the feast of purim is instituted.

 

Job

The purpose of Job being written was to point out God’s Sovereignty and the meaning of true faith. It addresses the question why do the righteous suffer? The author was Job. Key people; Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Elihu

 

 

 

Major Theological Themes:

1. Suffering

2. Satan’s attacks

3. God’s goodness

4. Pride

5. Trusting

 

Theological Outline:

Why do bad things happen to good people? Only satan doubted Job’s sincerity [v. 9] See notes on Job course.

What options do righteous people have when bad things happen to them?

1. We have to deal with the problems with the limited knowledge God gives us

2. Defend our innocence and lament our fate and question God’s justice

3. Remain faithful in spite of the circumstances by humbling ourselves with God

There five theological conclusions that can be drawn from the Book of Job and the idea of undeserved suffering;

1. Suffering can unexpectedly to anyone including the righteous

2. Undeserved suffering raises the question of justice in the world and ultimately the

    justice of God

3. Human wisdom is not adequate to know the reasons for undeserved suffering

4. Suffering may be a test and we suffer for God’s honor, to test us, and to discipline us

5. Only God can meet our needs when we suffer

 

How Job applies to us today:

Suffering can come to anyone and human wisdom is inadequate to calm the suffering of the distressed. Only God is able to meet the needs of those who suffer and it draws us to the comfort and assurance of God’s goodness and grace. He understands what we are going through and He provides the answer, resurrection to life beyond pain.

 

Timeline Application:

The time of Job is unknown and therefore we can have no definitive time line.

 

Psalms

The purpose of the psalms is to provide poetry for the expression of praise, worship, and confession to God. There are several authors: David wrote 73 psalms; Asaph wrote 12; sons of Korah wrote 9; Solomon wrote 2; Moses wrote 1; and 51 are anonymous. Key person is David and the key place is God’s Holy Temple.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1. Praise

2. God’s Power

3. Forgiveness

4. Thankfulness

5. Trust

6. Faith of Israel set to music

 

Theological Outline:

See notes on the psalms courses. Listen to tape 4/2.

 

How Psalms apply to us today:

The list of teachings we have from psalms has no end. The psalms teach us to pray, praise, worship, confess, and to testify. The prayer path to God is open at all times to all people in all situations. God hears and answers our prayers. He forgives, redeems, and renews our lives.

 

Timeline Application:

Psalms were written between 1440BC and up to 586BC.

 

Proverbs

The purpose for Proverbs is to teach people how to be understanding, just, and fair in everything they do. To make the simple minded wise and to show young men the problems they will face and to help the wise become good leaders. In short to apply wisdom to daily life and provide moral instruction, Solomon wrote most of this book with Agar and Lemuel providing similar instructions.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1. Wisdom

      God wants His people to be wise and two types of people are contrasted in proverbs,

       the fool and the one who applies himself to understanding.

2. Relationships

     Advice is given to show us how to maintain high moral standards with our family,

     friends, and in the workplace.

3. Speech

      What we say shows our attitude toward others and what we say shows how wise we

       have become.

4. Work

     God controls the final outcome of all we do.

5. Success

     God’s view of success is to have a good reputation, moral character and the spiritual

      devotion to obey Him.

 

 

Theological Outline:

 

Ancient thinkers recognized quite early the orderliness of the world in which they lived. They understood that if they tried to live in harmony with that set order life would be much more enjoyable and fulfilling, we call these thinkers wise men, and their writings wisdom writings. The goal of such instruction appears to have been enable learners to master their lives and make their lives more enjoyable and discover happiness.  In Israel wisdom thinking began among the tribes and such early Israelite wisdom came from simple observations about life and one generation handed them down to another in a continuing search for the answers to life’s complex problems. For Israel the fear of the Lord provided the central theme tying all wisdom teaching together.  The Book of Proverbs clearly defines how God expects His people to find meaningful existence. In doing this two doctrines are emphasized the human search for meaning and the nature of God. Though all mankind has searched for meaning in existence, Israel’s search is unique in two ways first the wisdom literature recognizes an orderliness to the world. It never pretends that one can know that order fully or that knowing it can bring about riches or a meaningful existence. The revealed wisdom of Proverbs clearly tells God’s people how to relate to God and to other people. More explicitly it teaches honesty, truthfulness, sobriety, hard work, compassion towards ones enemies, humility, proper sexual and marriage relationships, proper parent –child relationships, and trust in God. The reverence of God that produces a willing obedience is not only its content but also the books constant theme. Because Israel did not follow such wise precepts they had to face God’s judgments. 

 

How Proverbs applies to us today:

It clearly reminds us that we are walking down the road of life, a road with two branches. The one chosen by the wise produces joy, happiness, and a meaningful existence as well as an eternal hope, the other road chosen by the foolish brings about heartache, sorrow, and ultimate destruction.

Proverbs pleas to us to acknowledge God as the Creator and Sustainer of the world and to repent of our sin and acknowledge God as Lord and Savior and to so order our lives in accordance with His will that His love with clearly be reflected in our relationships. To teach these precepts diligently to our children and to praise God for the fullness and joy He provides along life’s way.

 

Timeline Application:

There is no timeline application for the book of Proverbs. It was written in the early years of Solomon’s reign.

 

Ecclesiastes

The purpose of Ecclesiastes was to spare future generations the bitterness of learning through there own experience that life is meaningless without God. The author is Solomon and Solomon wrote this primarily for his subjects that he was king over and all people in general. During the course of the writing the book Solomon called himself by another name, Koheleth and what it means is one who speaks publicly in an assembly.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      Searching

Solomon searched for satisfaction almost as if it was a scientific experiment. He

discovered that life without God was a long and fruitless search for meaning, joy, and fulfillment. True happiness is not in our power to attain because we always desire more than we can have.

2.      Emptiness

Solomon shows how empty it is to pursue this life’s pleasures rather than a relationship with the eternal God. The search for pleasure, wealth, and success is ultimately disappointing. Nothing in the world can satisfy our longings and our restless heart.

 

    

3.      Work

Solomon tried to shake people’s confidence in their own efforts, abilities, and wisdom and direct them to faith in God as the only sound basis for living. Without God there is no lasting reward or benefit in hard work.

4.      Death

The certainty of death makes all human achievements futile. God has a plan for human destiny that goes beyond life and death. The reality of aging and dying reminds us of the end to come when God will judge each persons life.

5.      Wisdom

Human wisdom doesn’t contain all the answers. Knowledge and education have their limits. To understand life we need the wisdom that can only be found in God’s Word to us.

 

 

Theological Outline:

This book addressed people desperately trying to find meaning and identity and retain the security of their homeland. It shows us the value of the present world without hope of eternal life and resurrection. The basic conclusion of a person facing death after the brief alighted span of years all of our life equals zero. So the only prudent path is to fear God and be careful. Solomon made it clear that wisdom, wealth, materialism, education, and religion all claimed in one way or another to make life worth living. Solomon tried each in turn but none worked. In chapter twelve Solomon made it clear that he was not some old man coming to the end but the he still had a passion for life. He tended to be skeptical and cynical. He shared his life experiences to temper the unrealistic optimism of the younger generation. He did not fear to question God and he refused to accept traditional, simplistic answers to life’s tough questions. The primary contribution of Ecclesiastes is that it forces the world’s claims of the good life to face the spotlight of truth. Solomon creates a darkness that makes the light of the world appear even brighter when the Messiah finally comes. He prepared the world for Jesus by showing how hopeless life is without Him. Ecclesiastes shows the sovereignty of God over His created world.

 

How Ecclesiastes applies to us today:

This book describes the hopelessness of life before Jesus and it is applicable to the contemporary scene. The majority of our world knows nothing of a personal relationship with God. The author saw the hopelessness of human existence. Many modern philosophers reflect such fatalism. Solomon’s mood, is also shared by people wearied of international terrorism, worldwide political unrest, and faltering economies. Ecclesiastes leads us to praise Jesus Christ.

 

Timeline Application:

940-935BC – Book of Ecclesiastes was written.

 

Song of Solomon

The Song of Solomon is also known by two other names. It is also called the Song of Songs and the Canticles. The most explicit statements on sex are found in this book. The purpose for the Song of Solomon is to tell of the love between a bridegroom and his bride, to affirm the sanctity of marriage and to picture God’s love for His people. The key people are Solomon, the Shulamite woman, her brothers, and the young women of Jerusalem.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      Sex

Sex is God’s gift to His creatures. He endorses sex, but restricts its expression to those committed to each other in marriage.

2.      Love

3.      Commitment

The power of love requires more than the language of feeling to protect it. Sexual expression is such an integral part of our selfhood that we need the boundary of  marriage to safe guard our love. Marriage is the celebration of daily commitment to each other.

4.      Beauty

Our praise should not be limited to physical beauty. Moral purity and a beautiful

personality should also be praised.

5.      Problems

Over time feelings of loneliness, indifference, and isolation came between Solomon and his bride, during those times love grew cold and barriers were raised.

 

Theological Outline:

How does the believer express love to another human being? This is the issue in the Song of Solomon. See notes on Song of Solomon. Listen to Tape 5/Side 1

 

How Song of Solomon applies to us today:

The bold words of sexual are kept within the context of an exclusive love relationship. The satisfying of natural or biological urge is not the point. The exclusivity of one for the other is. There are three theological conclusions that we find in the Song of Solomon;

1.      God made man and woman to compliment each other in every way.

2.      God made man and woman physically attractive to each other.

3.      God meant for human sexuality to be expressed in an exclusive relationship.

 

Timeline Application:

1014BC – the Song of Solomon was written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isaiah

The purpose of Isaiah was to call the nation of Judah back to God and to tell of God’s salvation through the Messiah. The author was Isaiah. Key people are Isaiah, Shearjashub, Mahershalalhashbaz.

 

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      Holiness

God is highly exalted above all His creatures. His moral perfection stands in contrast to evil people and nations. God is perfect and sinless in all His motives and actions.

2.      Punishment

Because God is holy He requires His people to treat others justly. He will judge us for faithless immorality.

3.      Salvation

Because God’s judgment is coming we need a Savior and Christ perfect sacrifice is foretold and portrayed in Isaiah.

4.      Messiah

God will send the Messiah to save His people and He will set up His own kingdom as the Prince of Peace and He will rule with righteousness.

5.      Hope

God promised His comfort, deliverance, and restoration in His future kingdom. The Messiah will rule over His faithful followers in the age to come. Hope is possible because Christ is coming.

 

Theological Outline:

See Notes from Isaiah I and Isaiah II ATS Courses.

Isaiah lived in a troubled time when everything that seemed to be nailed down was coming loose. Three hundred years before the prophet ministered David had drawn the struggling tribes together subdued the neighboring groups and carved out a secure Israelite state. David’s was the golden age, following David’s time destructive forces began to chip away at this idealistic situation. Solomon followed his father on the throne but caused great discontent with his luxurious living and oppressive ways. The division of the kingdom followed close at the end of Solomon’s reign. Military struggles, weak leadership, false worship, internal confusion, and external threat characterized the life of these two kingdoms down to the eighth century. Isaiah came on the scene when King Uzziah died. History and doctrine are closely entwined in the book of Isaiah. In 587BC, Judah was destroyed by Babylon. The major theological points revealed in Isaiah are;

1.      God is One.

2.      God is sovereign over creation and history.

3.      God is holy.

4.      God is judge.

5.      God is redeemer.

One of the key concept ideas found in Isaiah is the remnant. After judgment God would save a remnant of His people and would continue His work with His purified and forgiven group. Isaiah even gave his sons names suggesting the swiftness of coming judgment and a remnant being saved. God did this in Isaiah’s day through Cyrus.

 

How Isaiah applies to us today:

We who have accepted Christ are called by the book of Isaiah to live according to these ageless truths, God is both separated from us by His holiness, yet ever with us by love and prayer. God calls us individually and as His people we find our security in Him. God’s kingdom of righteousness is the only eternal kingdom.

 

Timeline Application:

700BC – the events of chapters 1-39 occurred

681BC - chapters 40-66 were written near the end of Isaiah’s life

 

Jeremiah

The purpose of Jeremiah was to urge God’s people to turn from their sins and turn back to God. The author was Jeremiah and it was written to Judah the southern kingdom and its capital Jerusalem. Key people are: the last five kings of Judah and they were Josiah, Jehohahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah. Other people were Baruch, Nebuchadnezzar. The key places were Jerusalem, Rammah, and Egypt.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      Sin

Josiah’s reformation failed because the people’s repentance was shallow they continued in their selfishness and worship of idols. Jeremiah lists all their sins and tells of God’s judgment and begs for repentance.

2.      Punishment

Because of sin Jerusalem was destroyed and the people were carried off to Babylon. The people were responsible because they refused to listen to God.

3.      God is Lord of all.

God is accountable to no one but Himself and He wisely and lovingly directs all creation to fulfill His plans. And he brings events to pass according to His timetable.

4.      New Hearts

Jeremiah predicted that after the destruction of the nation God would send them a new shepherd the Messiah who would lead them into a new future, a new covenant, and a new day of hope and He would accomplish this by giving them new hearts of love for God.

5.      Faithful service

 

Jeremiah served God for 40 years and during that time the people persecuted him and rejected him. His preaching was unsuccessful by human standards yet he did not fail in his task he remained faithful to God.    

 

Theological Outline:

Jeremiah began his ministry in 626BC, in the thirteenth year of king Josiah’s reign. He continued until he was forcibly carried off to Egypt, which was in 584BC. After Josiah’s death Judah faced three religious options, which were also tied up with the political realities of the time. First of all they could continue in unswerving and exclusive faithfulness to the God of Israel which Josiah’s reform had set them. Second, they could continue to worship their own God and reacquaint worship of other gods as was their practice before Josiah’s reform. Their third option was that they could abandon the worship of God altogether and give themselves over to the worship of false gods. Judah chose the second option. They chose the middle ground. They especially worshiped the Canaanite god Baal.  In a polytheistic world the right solution was to incorporate the worship of  there neighbor’s gods  alongside and into the worship of Judah’s God. Because of compromise only a few people remained completely faithful to God alone. Jeremiah was one of the few and he was commissioned by God to deliver a very unpopular message. There are five practical teachings that we get from Jeremiah.

1.      The Sovereignty of God

2.      The faithfulness of God

3.      The necessity of faithfulness in God’s people

4.      The grace of God

5.      God’s promise of a new covenant

 

How Jeremiah applies to us today:

If we were to take seriously the teachings of Jeremiah the church and individual believers will avoid the spiritual blindness and bankruptcy, which doomed Judah. He teaches us to take our relationship with God seriously and to believe God and trust God and take our relationships with other believers seriously. He teaches us to take our agreements seriously and to be alert to recognize and apply God’s correction and finally, live in joyful expectation of God’s final restoration of His people and creation.

 

Timeline Application:

627BC – Jeremiah becomes a prophet

609BC – Josiah is killed in battle

605BC – Ezekiel is taken captive

593BC - Ezekiel begins to prophesize in Babylon

586BC – Judah falls, Jerusalem is destroyed and Jeremiah’s ministry ends

 

 

 

Lamentations

The purpose of the book is to teach people that to disobey God is to live in a disastrous situation and it shows that God suffers when His people suffer. The author is Jeremiah and the key people are; Jeremiah and the people of Jerusalem, which is the key place.

 

Major Theological Themes

1.      Destruction of Jerusalem

Lamentations is actually a sad funeral song for the city of Jerusalem. The temple has been destroyed, the king is gone and the people are in captivity. God had warned them but they had failed to listen now they realize their sad state and now they confess their sins.

 

2.      Sins Consequences

God was angry at the prolonged rebellion by His people, sin is the cause of their misery and destruction. The destruction of the nation shows the vanity of human glory and pride.

3.      God’s Mercy

God’s compassion was at work even when the Israelites were experiencing the affliction of their Babylonian conquerors. Although the people had been unfaithful God’s faithfulness was great and He used their affliction to bring the people back to Him.

4.      Hope

God’s mercy in sparing some of the people springs hope for better days. One day the people will be restored to a true and fervent relationship with God.

 

Theological Outline:

The year was 586BC and Jerusalem has been destroyed. The temple has been demolished its sacred vessels taken as spoils of war. The priests have been killed or taken to Babylon. All this Jeremiah declared to the Israelites. Lamentations is a series of five different laments each of which its subject is either the fall of Judah or Jerusalem. All five chapters center on one question; How can one respond to the loss of all security? Those who experienced the horrors of defeat, the disruption of the economy and the ensuing famine had to wonder if their God had been defeated. In such dire circumstances the people had several theological choices;

1.      They could decide their God was defeated and abandon Him.

2.      They might decide God didn’t exist and become atheistic.

3.      They might abandon their religious zeal for a fanatical political program becoming those zealots who try to overthrow foreign conquerors by violence.

4.      They might try to understand how God allowed the exile and could be working through it.

This last response is the position of Lamentations in spite of the despair over defeat, personal suffering and loss still the community must have hope. Even if God had seemed to abandon them they must be hopeful. For hope is all we have left. This book tells of both personal and community despair over the plight of both Judah and Jerusalem. The book laments what once was and is no more. Several theological themes stand out in this book.

 

1.      God is just.  

 

2.      Sinful people will be punished for sins.         

 

3.      God is not partial, even His elect people will be held accountable for their sins. 

4.      If the people will repent and trust in God they will have hope for the future.

 

How Lamentations applies to us today:

It reminds us of the appalling consequences of our sin. God does not treat our sin lightly. Furthermore, we are responsible for our sin we cannot pass the buck. Nevertheless, the good news is that none of us is beyond help. We can respond to God through Jesus Christ He is our only hope.

 

 

Timeline Application:

It was written soon after the fall of Jerusalem in 586BC.

 

 

Ezekiel

The purpose of Ezekiel is to announce God’s judgments on other nations and to foretell the eventual salvation for God’s people. The author is Ezekiel and it was written for the Jews in captivity in Babylon and God’s people everywhere. The key people are: Ezekiel, Israel’s leaders, Ezekiel’s wife, Nebuchadnezzar. The key places are Jerusalem, Babylon, and Egypt.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      God’s Holiness

Ezekiel had a vision that revealed God’s absolute moral perfection.

2.      Sin

Israel had sinned and God’s punishment came. The fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile was used by God to bring them back from their sinful lives. Ezekiel wrote to tell them that each individual was accountable to God.

3.      Restoration

Ezekiel consoles the people by telling them the day will come when God will restore His people from sin. God will be their king and shepherd and He will give them a new heart to worship Him.

4.      Leaders

Ezekiel condemned the shepherds who were the unfaithful priests and leaders who led the people astray. By contrast Ezekiel stood as a faithful shepherd who cared about the people and warned the people of their sin. One day God’s Perfect Shepherd, the Messiah will lead His people.

5.      Worship

An angel gave Ezekiel a vision of the temple in great detail. The building of a future temple portrays the return of God’s presence. God will cleanse His people and restore true worship.

 

Theological Outline:

The accepted moral and theological underpinnings of life to which the people of Ezekiel’s day held were evidently inadequate. Instead of right being victorious over wrong. Evil forces were securely in control. The people of Judah had accommodated themselves to Egyptian rule after the death of king Josiah, who died at the hands of the Egyptian army under the control of Pharaoh Neco in 609BC. Three months later the Egyptians deposed the younger and more popular Jehoahaz whom the people enthroned. The Egyptians then enthroned Jehoakin, Josiah’s older brother. Nebuchadnezzar’s victory over Egypt in 605BC imposed Babylonian sovereignty in Judah. Judah still maintained its natural spiritual and cultural identity. Jehoakin’s ill-timed revolt against Babylon in 597BC brought Babylon’s full force on Judah and things suddenly changed. Ezekiel and his wife, along with ten thousand selected captives were marched of to Babylonian captivity.  Ezekiel chose the course of repentance and covenant renewal. Destined to begin his life’s ministry as a priest at age 30, Ezekiel was uprooted from his homeland and marched off to Babylon at age 25. For five years he languished in despair. At age 30, a majestic vision of Yahweh’s glory captivated his being in Babylon. The priest/prophet discovered that God was not limited to the confines of Ezekiel’s native land. Instead he is a universal God who commands and controls nations. In Babylon God used Ezekiel to preach His Word. From 593BC to 571BC, Ezekiel ministered to his generation who were both exceedingly sinful and thoroughly hopeless. 93 times Ezekiel is called the son of man and Yahweh used the title to address the human messenger. Such a usage occurring so infrequently in the OT identified the prophet with his people. God chose to work through a common man who could identify with His people. The term Yahweh appears 49 times in the book and such a phrase indicates God’s Sovereignty. Nothing can prohibit the accomplishing of His will. God rules over nations using them as tools in His hands to accomplish His purposes, ultimately He calls all people to account. Mercy will come to those who repent. Ezekiel brings out the fact that each person, is responsible for their actions and for their response to God.

 

How Ezekiel applies to us today:

It calls us to join in a fresh and living encounter with God.

We must be over comers or we will be over come. Ezekiel offers us nine different challenges.

1.      To experience a life changing vision of God’s power, knowledge, eternal presence, and holiness

2.      To let God direct us from the expected paths of service to the existing avenues of ministry

3.      To realize the sweetness and effectiveness of God’s Word to challenge us and direct our lives

4.      To comprehend the depth of and commitment to the evil that is lodge in each human heart.

5.      To identify with the humanity of the very ones whose lifestyles we must understand and condemn

6.      To recognize that God holds his servants responsible for warning wicked men of their perils.

7.      To understand that momentary tragedies are not God’s ultimate purpose for our lives.

8.      To experience a living relationship with Jesus Christ who said that the new covenant is to be found in His blood.

9.      To depend upon God daily being confident that His kingdom will suffice both now and forever

 

Timeline Application:

605BC – Daniel taken captive to Babylon

597BC – Ezekiel taken captive to Babylon

593BC – Ezekiel becomes a prophet to the exiles

586BC – Judah falls and Jerusalem is destroyed

571BC – Ezekiel’s ministry ends

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel

The purpose of Daniel was to give an account of the faithful Jews who lived in captivity and to show how God was in control of heaven and earth. Directing the forces of nature and the destiny of nations and the care of His people. The author is Daniel and it was written to the other captives and God’s people everywhere. The key people are; Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Beltashazzar and Darius. Key places are Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, the fiery furnace, Beltashazzar’a banquet, and the den of lions. Some of the special features found in Daniel that we don’t find in some of the other books are the apocalyptic visions Daniel had in chapters 8-12.

 

Major Theological Themes

1.      God is in control

2.      Purpose in life

3.      Perseverance

4.      God’s faithfulness

 

Theological Outline:

Apocalyptic expression involves the use of elaborate visions and images to describe the last days when the world order will be rescued from indescribable threats and evil. Prayer is the highway of proper ethics for God’s people. It is through prayer that we obtain vision and hope. It is through prayer that we confess our sins and receive forgiveness. The kingdom of God is composed of those who believe and our faithful to the end. The preserving saints will see God’s victory and experience the joy of His kingdom come. The faithful will inherit eternal life.

 

 

How Daniel applies to us today:

Daniel is a contagious word of encouragement through personal example. Daniel is a consistent role model. Our calling is no to have constant victory but to have constant faith evil will be punished eventually. Our actions must be prompted by the glorification of God and not by the glorification of selfish desires. The faithful must exalt God constantly in spite of worldly circumstances. God is alive and at work. Resurrection hope is the answer for a fallen world.

 

Timeline Application:

535BC – book of Daniel written

605-535BC – Daniel wrote about the events after they had taken place

 

Concluding remarks – 7:13-14

This is a clear prophecy of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hosea

The purpose of Hosea was to illustrate God’s love for His sinful people. The author is Hosea and his name means salvation. The key people are; Hosea, Gomer, and their children and the key places are the northern kingdom, Samaria, and Ephraim.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      The nation’s sin

Just as Hosea’s wife Gomer had been unfaithful to him so the nation of Israel had been unfaithful to God. Israel’s idolatry was like adultery. They sought illicit relationships with Assyria and Egypt to give them military might and they mixed Baal worship with the worship of God.

2.      God’s judgment

Hosea was solemnly warning Judah against following Israel’s example because Judah forgot the covenant turning away from God and forgot her maker Judah experienced a devastating invasion and exile. Sin has terrible consequences.

3.      God’s love

Just as Hosea went after his unfaithful wife to bring her back so the Lord pursues us with His love. His love is tender, loyal, unchanging, and undying. No matter what God still loves us.

4.      Restoration

Although God will discipline His people for sin He encourages and restores those who repent because God forgives and restores.

 

Theological Outline:

The children of Israel committed spiritual adultery by going after pagan lovers. And in so doing they turned away from their covenant God. How would God react to such an unfaithful people? Hosea had the dubious honor of preaching to a people sick unto death. Amos had announced the end of Israel and Hosea had watched the fulfillment of those words. God commanded Hosea to do more than just preach. He commanded Hosea to take an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness. By this action the prophet symbolized in his family life the nation’s life. They were guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord. Hosea was commanded by God to go show his love to his wife again though she had turned to other lovers. The prophet’s faithful obedience signified the Lord loves the Israelites though they turn to other gods. The love of God is the doctrinal foundation of the book of Hosea. God’s love is both the warnings to the unfaithful and a promise to the repentant. From that base Hosea presents us with five conclusions;

1.      God’s love prompts him to enter into a covenant relationship with his people

2.      God’s love for his people is consistent in spite of their unfaithfulness

3.      God’s love leads him to discipline and to judge his unfaithful people

4.      God’s love for his people causes him to expect them to love him consistently

5.      Genuine repentance on the part of God’s people results in Divine forgiveness, love and blessings

 

 

 

How Hosea applies to us today:

The word of the Lord that came to Hosea in the prosperous eighth century is relevant to the successful church in the 20th century. God’s people are lured by local gods and material greed to turn away from the Living God, social injustice, immorality, and political intrigue mar modern life and need to be addressed. Repentant sinners need to know God’s love and blessing are available to them. The church should learn the following lessons from Hosea;

1.      God’s judgment comes upon his people when they turn away from him to seek pagan gods and devote themselves to material prosperity.

2.      God disciplines his people to turn them away from false gods and false goals and return to himself. He opens the door of hope out of the valley of trouble.

3.      God’s ministers are not immune to judgment when they lead God’s people astray and engage in the same sins as the people

4.      Large offerings and elaborate rituals are not acceptable substitutes for loyal love.

5.      God is restrained from expressing His wrath by His overpowering compassion

6.      When God’s people repent they can expect God to forgive them, love them, and bless them

 

Timeline Application:

715BC – Hosea written and Hosea wrote about events that took place between 753-715BC

 

Joel

The purpose of Joel was to warn Judah of God’s impending judgment because of their sins and to urge them to back to God. The author was Joel and the key people are Joel and the people of Judah and the key place was Jerusalem.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      Punishment

Like a destroying army of locusts God’s punishment for sin is overwhelming, dreadful and unavoidable. When it comes there will be no food, water, protection, and no escape. The day for settling accounts with God for how we have lived is fast approaching.

2.      Forgiveness

God stood ready to forgive all those who would come to Him and turn away from sin.

3.      Promise of the Holy Spirit

Joel predicts the time when God will pour out His Holy Spirit on all people. It will be the beginning of new and fresh worship of God by those who believe in Him; but also it will be the beginning of judgment on all who reject Him.

 

Theological Outline:

Judah was devastated because locusts like a huge army had destroyed much of the vegetation and a severe drought made the situation even worse. In the midst of this tragedy God called Joel to provide the proper interpretation of these events and to provide the proper course to follow. The name Joel means the Lord is God. Joel understood the problem was of theological nature and he knew the solution would be theological in nature. He interpreted the calamity as a judgment because of the unfaithfulness of God’s people. The day of the Lord, a day of judgment was near at hand. God so hope only if the people would return to God in true repentance. Joel provided a rarity among Biblical prophets. Israel most often ignored or rejected prophetic counsel however they heeded the words of Joel. The people repented and God forgave them. In the last half of the book God had Joel turn his attention to the distant future. Joel described a time when God would pour out His fury on all flesh. Signs in heaven and on earth would accompany this action. Another day of the Lord, a day of decision for all persons and all nations would be ushered in. Those who would welcome the presence of God in their lives would be forever blessed. Those who rejected him would be judged severely and separated from God. The day of the Lord is the center of Joel’s theology. No sin is insignificant all have cosmic implications. God however is a gracious and merciful God eager to have sinners turn to Him. Restoration is not automatic it involves restoration from the heart not simply participation in public rites and ceremonies. God calls us to these rites and ceremonies as a witness to the sincere change of life’s direction. Only such change signifies true repentance. Those who live in obedience to God will be forever blessed. Those who spurn Him will ultimately be cut off completely. Each person decided his or her own eternal destiny. Joel looked forward to Pentecost and the final day of the Lord.

 

How Joel applies to us today:

Few of life’s tragedies are the direct judgment of God the unfair and dangerous idea that every calamity is due to sin in the life of the sufferer still haunts and hurts people. On the other hand when serious difficulties come to an individual or a nation it is wise to take some time for a serious self-examination. Perhaps individual or corporate sin is to be confessed and removed. This book reminds of the need for ongoing confession and a life of faithfulness.

 

Timeline Application:

835BC-796BC – when Joel prophesied and wrote the book

 

Concluding remarks – Joel 2:28-32

This is a prophecy of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Peter quoted this passage at Pentecost and Joel envisions a time when the Holy Spirit will be available to every believer.

 

Amos

The purpose of Amos was to pronounce God’s judgment upon the northern kingdom Israel for their complacency, idolatry, and oppression of the poor. The book written by Amos and the key people are Amos, Amaziah, Jeroboam II and the key places are Bethel and Samaria.

 

 

 

 

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      Everyone answers to God

2.      Complacency

Everyone was optimistic business was booming people were happy except for the poor and oppressed. With all the comfort and luxury came self-sufficiency and a false sense of security. Prosperity brought corruption and destruction.

3.      Oppressing the poor

The wealthy people of Samaria had become prosperous, greedy, and unfair. Illegal and immoral slavery came as a result of over taxation and land grabbing. There was cruelty and indifference toward the poor.

4.      Superficial religion

Although many people had abandoned real faith in God they still pretended to be religious. They were carrying on normal religious performances instead of having spiritual integrity and practicing heartfelt obedience toward God.

 

Theological Outline:

Amos saw himself called to be a spokesman of God, not a professional religious leader. He sought to call his people to a relationship with God that would result in a proper relationship with their fellow human beings and would in turn result in proper worship. He called his people to a righteousness that reflected a right relation with God. He warned them that to fail to respond would bring the judgment of God. The ministry of Amos was set near the end of the first half of the 8th century in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II. Amos was the first of the great 8th century prophets followed by Hosea, Micah, and Isaiah. The popular theology of the day as in ours was that external prosperity were indicative of the blessings of God. But is this belief correct? The northern kingdom became prosperous because the wealthy political leaders oppressed the poor, especially the farmers. The courts had been corrupted by bribery and many of the poor had to give up their land and frequently had to sell themselves as slaves. The leaders believed that the poor were unrighteous and that the rich were righteous. The religion of the day was an assimilation of the worship of God with the worship of the Baal’s of Canaan. Canaanite religion centered on a fertility cult that appealed to the sexual urges of the people. Gradually the people of Israel moved away from God and they assumed their prosperity was due to the rituals of worship. Unfortunately they missed the fact that worship to have any value must affect the people where they live in their heart. Amos set before the people of Israel several themes;

1.      Merely observing proper forms of worship is not sufficient for a righteous relationship with God.

2.      Any religion that does not result in the right treatment of the poor and helpless is a worthless religion. Greed had led the leaders to oppress the poor. Bribes resulted in further mistreatment of the poor. It was to these people that Amos issued the call of practical righteousness as the foundation for proper worship. The people of Israel had ignored the basic idea that privilege brings responsibility. They assumed rightly that God’s judgments would be brought on God’s enemies. They also assumed wrongly that it would bring deliverance for God’s people. Their own actions of oppression had made them enemies of God.

 

How Amos applies to us today:

1.      Greed for the things of this world can distort our thinking and our living leading us to oppress or to indifferent to our fellowman and alienated from God.

2.      Beliefs are measured against God’s Word not against popular teaching

3.      Beliefs in the standard theological propositions accompanied by the proper observance of religious ritual are of no value if they are not also accompanied by practical righteousness in our dealings with others.

God sometimes uses historical tragedy and calamity to call people into an honest confrontation with sin seeking to lead us to repent and turn from sin to God.

 

Timeline Application:

760-750BC – Book of Amos written

 

Obadiah

The purpose of Obadiah was to show that God judges those who have harmed His people. The author was Obadiah but very little is known about him and his name means servant of the Lord. The key people are the Edomites and the key places are Edom and Jerusalem.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      Justice

Obadiah predicted that God would destroy Edom as punishment for helping Babylon invade Judah. Because of their treachery Edom’s land would be given to Judah in the day God rights the wrongs against His people.

2.      Pride

Because of their seemingly invincible rock fortress the Edomites were proud and self-confident but God humbles them and their nation disappeared from the face of the earth.

 

Theological Outline:

The conquered people were marched into exile in a foreign land, adding to their sorrows was that their own kin had betrayed them. Edom, which descended from Esau, Jacob’s brother had gloated over the fall of Jerusalem and helped the Babylonians capture the citizens of Judah. They even helped in the destruction of the city. Obadiah prophesied of the future when God would restore Judah and bring judgment upon Edom. There are two major theological points that Obadiah show us;

1.      Justice of God

Obadiah proclaimed the justice of God in a renewed way. Edom and the rest of the nations who wronged the people of God would receive just retribution for their evil.

 

 

 

 

2.      Grace of God

The remnant of Judah had suffered but would have a future in the coming day of the Lord. God is sovereign and would bring in the kingdom and the grace of God would prevail.

 

How Obadiah applies to us today:

The proclamation of Obadiah applies to the people of God wherever they find themselves defeated. God is just and He is involved in all of life. Our hope is God and beyond any current crisis. God meets people at the point of their greatest need. Obadiah calls us to;

1.      Believe in the Word of God

2.      Live in light of God’s faithfulness

3.      To renew our vision of God’s justice

4.      To aid in the liberation of oppressed people

 

Timeline Application:

853-851BC – Obadiah written

 

Jonah

The purpose of Jonah was to show the extent of God’s grace and that the message of salvation is for all people. The key people are Jonah, the boat’s captain and crew, and the key places are Joppa and Nineveh.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      God’s Sovereignty

Although Jonah tried to run away from God, God was still in control by controlling the stormy seas and great fish God displayed His absolute and loving guidance.

2.      God’s message to all the world

God had told Jonah to speak to Nineveh, but Jonah hated Nineveh and so he responded with anger and indifference. Jonah had yet to learn that God loves all people. Through Jonah God reminded Israel of their missionary purpose.

3.      Repentance

When Jonah preached in Nineveh the people repented and returned to God. This was a powerful rebuke to Israel who thought themselves better and refused to respond to God. God will forgive all who turn from their sins.

4.      God’s compassion

God’s message of love and forgiveness was not for the Jews alone. God loves all people of the world. The Assyrians didn’t deserve it but God spared them when they repented and in His mercy God did not reject Jonah for aborting the mission.

 

Theological Outline:

This book teaches us about the nature of God and His love. In about circa 538BC when the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity their religion took on an intensely exclusive coloring, they felt God had no use for any other nation. In this theological climate they needed to hear of one of their greatest prophets who also had a disobedient attitude. The book is more than the story of a disobedient prophet it focuses on the nature of Israel’s God. The book was written to show the people that their opinions and lifestyles were not consistent with God’s love for all people. God’s redemptive program included everyone. Only when Israel understood this theological truth could Israel become God’s instrument. Of all Israel’s enemies Assyria had been the cruelest. Jonah’s readers faced two major choices they could remain belligerent in their hatred and self-pity or they could join God’s mission and seek the salvation of all people even their enemies. Jonah shows us that God’s love is not confined to one people.

 

How Jonah applies to us today:

Never has the message of this book been needed as much as it is today. Prejudice and hatred abound and many Christians contend that Jesus Christ is not the only answer to our sins. They insist his gospel is not the final word for the world’s salvation. According to them our missionary programs are not only unnecessary but may be counter-productive across the nations. Christianity cannot as ancient Judaism sought to do identify religious faith exclusively for national interest. God’s love transcends all geographical and ethnical boundaries. Five lessons we can learn from this book and need to apply;

1.      Sin offends God’s holiness and must be dealt with drastically

2.      When God calls we have no option but to obey

3.      God’s redeeming grace is for all people no matter who they are or where they are

4.      God will accomplish His purpose with us if He can or without us if He must

5.      Repentance can avert the threatened judgment

 

Timeline Application:

785-760BC – book of Jonah written

 

Micah

The purpose of Micah was to warn God’s people that judgment was coming and to offer a pardon to all who would repent. The author is Micah and the book was written to both the Northern and the Southern kingdom. The key people in Micah are the people of Samaria and Jerusalem and the key places are Samaria, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      Perverting Faith

Now God will judge the false prophets and dishonest leaders and selfish priests in Israel and Judah. While they publicly carried out religious ceremonies they were privately seeking to gain money and influence. To mix selfish motives with an empty display of religion is to pervert faith.

2.      Oppression

Micah predicted ruin for all nations and leaders who were oppressive toward others. The upper classes oppressed the poor. Yet no one was speaking against them or doing anything to stop them. God will not put up with such injustice.

3.      Messiah, King of Peace

God promised to provide a new king to bring strength and peace to His people. Hundreds of years before Christ’s birth God promised that He would be born in Bethlehem and God would restore His people through the Messiah.

 

4.      Pleasing God

Micah preached that God’s greatest desire was not in sacrifices at the Temple, God delights in faith that brings fairness, love to others, and obedience to Him.

 

Theological Outline:

When Micah began his ministry both Samaria and Judah, were enjoying times of unaccustomed peace and prosperity. The westward advance of the Assyrians had compelled the Syrians to withdraw from Israel’s eastern border. Freed from the threat of war both the Northern and Southern kingdom were at liberty to develop their own economy, social, and political life. But, this situation also had its dark sides. The rich began to emulate the lifestyle of pagan nations. When the peasant farmers had trouble producing the required luxury goods, the rich landowners took over their holdings and influenced the court decisions by bribing the judges. The unemployed farm workers then drifted to the city seeking shelter. For the first time in Hebrew history serious overcrowding threatened large settled areas along with disease that accompanies poverty. The religious condition of the nation has a whole was even more serious. The Israelites had been liberated from Egypt under Moses and had been provided with a home in Canaan so that they might live as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation as it says in Exodus. At Mount Sinai they had covenanted with God and promised to obey all His laws. Once they occupied Canaan however they discovered the inhabitants practiced one of the most depraved forms of religion that the world has ever known. The Canaanites worshiped Baal and his consort, Anath, at four principle festivals each year. The celebrations included degrading rites that included ceremonial prostitution, drunkenness, incest, homosexuality and violent assaults. These acts would occur under the groves of trees that often accompanied their shrines. God sent periodic messengers to tell the people that they had broken oath of obedience to the covenant God. But the Hebrews chose to ignore the fact that the privileges required responsibility of living a holy life under God’s commandment. Micah was called to expose the failings of the people. Micah called to the people that God would forgive the people on the basis of true repentance. What are God’s requirements according to Micah? First they must act with justice toward all people. Second mercy must be an integral part of their mental and spiritual attitude. Third, instead of behaving arrogantly and flaunting an improper independence the people must repent of their rebellion against the covenant and do God’s will concisely and continuously in humble obedience. God’s judgment according to Micah the religious leaders bear a responsibility to help God’s people to remember what God has done to redeem them and to teach what God expects of them. Leaders who reject this responsibility will face God’s covenant curse. Second, political leaders have no right to exploit the people. Third, dedication to social and spiritual evils means any hope of salvation must be preceded by a period of punishment for sins. Only after the covenant curse for disobedience and infidelity can God’s people look for a just God to show His mercy. God’s promises for His people according to Micah, when God’s people are unwilling to repent of their disobediences God has no alternative but for drastic punishment. The coming Messiah in His Word, God tinges even the most severe forebodings of disaster with hope for the future. Salvation and hope are God’s major themes.

 

How Micah applies to us today:

The world of Micah is curiously like the modern world today. The moral perversions of ancient Canaan or being flaunted and even being given “rights” in some places, the faith of the new covenant is all but submerged under secularism and humanism and the influence of pagan oriental religions. In an age of unprecedented communication, Christians are still largely ignorant of the contents of the scripture and especially of the demands of Christ in the new covenant. Because the principles of godly living have not been made explicit many believers have become conformed to the world and have begun to ignore and even deny the conditions of their salvation. What is even worse is the rampant spirit of antagonism and opposing all religions and ethical regulations. This encourages believers to think that because they have been saved they are above the law. They are tempted to see enactments of the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount that are for other inferior people to follow. Thus Christians are committing adultery through multiple marriages and sublime indifferences to the teachings of the law and the gospel, while still maintaining arrogantly that their religious experience places them above such precepts. So the church must learn the following lessons from Micah.

1.      Life under biblical covenant is distinctive.

It compromises a relationship in which the believer accepts the over lordship of God and agrees to submit to it in obedience and faith.

2.      On this basis of a loving God, God guarantees provision for human needs and His

blessing on the believers life.

3.      That life must be lived in submission to the known revealed will of God and must

 be holy as God is holy.

4.      The privileges of covenant life are matched by obligations.

The believer must witness to God’s holiness, mercy, and justice in society. Ministering to the oppressed and exploited and protecting against social injustice.

5.      The believer must maintain a distinct faith that rests on the inspiration an

authority of God’s Word.

 

            

Timeline Application:

742- 687BC - Micah was written during the reigns of Jothan, Ahaz, and Hezekiah

 

Nahum

The purpose of Nahum is to pronounce God’s judgment on Assyria and to comfort Judah with this truth. The author is Nahum and it was written to the people of Nineveh and the people of Judah. The key place is Nineveh, the capital of Assyria.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      God judges.

God would judge the city of Nineveh for its idolatry, arrogance, and oppression. Although Assyria was the leading military power in the world God would completely destroy this invincible nation. God allows no person or power to scoff at His authority.

 

 

 

2.      God rules.

God rules over all the earth and even over those who do not acknowledge Him. He is all-powerful and no one can thwart His plans. God will overcome any who attempt to defy Him.

 

Theological Outline:

The people of ancient Israel had suffered for many years under the Assyrians who in 722BC had conquered the northern kingdom of Israel. By the time Nahum, Judah was but a small state in a region dominated by the brutal Assyrians. The Assyrians were noted not only for their power but also for their cruelty. Their archives reflect pride in the complete devastation of enemies. Assyrian kings boasted of dragging women and children away from their dead husbands and taking them as captives to Nineveh as spoils of war. The Assyrians also bragged of laying skin from rebels to display for their enemies. Nahum too described the cruelty of Assyria and he also claimed that Assyria practiced harlotry in state by betraying weaker nations. Judah, which had been oppressed for over a hundred years, was faced with several options.

1.      They could decide that God had been conquered by the Assyrians and could no longer help them and join in the worship of the Assyrian gods.

2.      They could decide that compromise was the best path and make Yahweh on of the many gods of the Assyrian empire that were worshiped.

3.      They could fall into the frustrating habit of harboring hatred against the oppressive Assyrians, which would drain their energies away from the task of building a responsible future.

4.      Then again they could be true to God and look to God for their hope.

Nahum prophesied the fall of Nineveh and this happened in 612BC.  In chapter 3 Nahum uses the analogy that assumed that the fall of Thebes in 663BC had already had taken place. In 625BC, Nahum began to see the Assyrian kingdom beginning to weaken and Judah beginning to exercise some independence under King Josiah. God would punish Assyria for their oppression of Judah. The book of Nahum brings encouragement and hope to an oppressed people ad there are four major themes in Nahum.

1.      Sovereignty of God

2.      Justice of God

3.      Grace of God

4.      Hope for God’s people.

 

How Nahum applies to us today:

This book speaks to all communities of faith, which face oppression.

The book calls us to recognize the presence of evil in the world and to believe that God is opposed to all evil, to examine our attitudes toward oppression, and to understand that oppression sows its own destruction. Nahum calls us to renew our hope in the Word of God and to act on behalf of God.

 

Timeline Application:

663-654BC – book of Nahum written

 

 

 

 

Habakkuk

The purpose of Habakkuk is to show that God is still in control of the world despite the apparent triumph of evil in the world. The author is Habakkuk and it was written to Judah and God’s people everywhere. The key people are Habakkuk and the Chaldeans and the key place is Judah.

 

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      Struggle and doubt

Habakkuk asked God why the people of Judah were not being punished for their sins. He couldn’t understand why a just God would allow such evil to exist. God promised to use the Babylonians to punish Judah. When Habakkuk cried out in his time of struggle God answered him with words of hope.

2.      God’s sovereignty

Habakkuk asked God why He would use the wicked Babylonians to punish His people. God said that He would punish the Babylonians after they had fulfilled His purpose.

3.      Hope

God is strength and place of safety and He will protect our relationship with Him forever.

 

Theological Outline:

Why does God allow the righteous to suffer? Sounds a lot like Psalm 73. God knew His people had failed Him but why did God use the Babylonians as an instrument to punish His people? Habakkuk argued with God that a wicked Judah was more righteous than a wicked Babylonian. The psalm in chapter 3 speaks of God coming in judgment and assertion of faith in God’s goodness in spite of adversity.  This book is designed to answer these three questions;

1.      How could God use such a wicked instrument as the Chaldeans to execute His purpose?

2.      Could the Divine purpose be justified in such events?

3.      Why do the wicked seem to triumph while the righteous suffer?

Habakkuk learned that God is moral in relation to the universe and the outcome is that God will turn the worst to good end. This does not completely solve the problem of suffering and evil, but it provides a part of the right response to a harsh reality. God’s just government of His world may not be immediately apparent to us in the long run it will become apparent. Meanwhile, God calls His people to fidelity through good or evil times until God’s day shall come. Tyranny is suicide and evil carries in it the seeds of its own destruction. The righteous will live by faith. Faithfulness is steadfast and trustworthiness. The righteous, are not morally perfect but persistently faithful even amid present perils and perplexity.

 

How Habakkuk applies to us today:

It is relevant since so often injustice and violence plague Christians. The facts of life do not always agree with traditional teachings about God. Out of our doubts we must forge a new belief in the grace of God and come to see that the righteous will live by faith. The righteous will triumph even though at present it seems as if evil goes unchecked. Righteousness will triumph.

 

Timeline Application:

612BC – Habakkuk becomes a prophet

609BC – King Josiah dies in battle

605BC – Daniel taken captive to Babylon

597BC – Ezekiel becomes a captive of Babylon and Zedekiah becomes king

589BC – Habakkuk’s ministry ends

 

Zephaniah

The purpose of Zephaniah was to shake the people of Judah out of their complacency and urge them to return to God. The author was Zephaniah and it was written to Judah and all nations and the key place is Jerusalem.

Major Theological Themes:

1.      The Day of Judgment

Destruction was coming because Judah had forsaken the Lord.

2.      Indifference to God

Although there had been occasional attempts at renewal Judah had no sorrow for her sin. The people were prosperous and they no longer cared about God. God’s demand for righteous living seemed irrelevant to Judah, whose security and wealth made them complacent.

3.      The Day of Cheer

God will judge all those who mistreat His people and He will purify His people purging away all sins and evil and He will give His people hope.

 

Theological Outline:

How much wickedness will God tolerate before He brings judgment? In Zephaniah’s day people had reason to ask this question; after the death of King Hezekiah his son, Manasseh quickly abandoned the godly ways of his father. He rebuilt the idolatrous high places that his father had destroyed. He killed many innocent people and sacrificed his own son to one of the gods. His son, Amon, followed his policies during his brief reign. Amon was succeeded by his eight year old son Josiah, who instituted religious reforms and Josiah was personally faithful to God, but his people didn’t really return to God in their hearts. Judah had been under Assyrian control since 701BC when Sennecherib devastated the land in a military campaign. Judah was allowed to have her own kings as long as they cooperated with Assyria. Assyria fell to Babylonia and God raised up Zephaniah to warn the people in some of the severest language possible that judgment was fast approaching. No prophet portrays the religious and moral situation in Judah than Zephaniah. Only the meek and humble who trust in the will experience the joy of God’s deliverance. This book has three major doctrines;

1.      God is sovereign over all nations

2.      The wicked will be punished and the righteous vindicated on the Day of Judgment

3.      God blesses those who repent and trust in Him

 

 

How Zephaniah applies to us today:

Two major emphasis highlight Zephaniah’s message; judgment for the wicked and hope for the faithful. Zephaniah reminds us that God is offended by the moral and religious sins of His people and God’s people will not escape punishment when they sin willfully. Punishment may be painful but its purpose may be redemptive rather than punitive. This brings comfort in a time when evil seems to go unchecked. Its true a person has the freedom to disobey God but not the freedom to escape the consequences of that disobedience. Those who are faithful to God may be relatively few but God will reward them.

 

Timeline Application:

640BC – Zephaniah becomes a prophet and Josiah becomes king of Judah

627BC – Jeremiah becomes a prophet

622BC – Book of the Law is found in the Temple

621BC – Zephaniah’s ministry ends

 

 

Haggai

The purpose of Haggai was to call the people to complete the rebuilding of the Temple and the author was Haggai. It was written to the people living in Jerusalem and to those returning from exile. The key people are Haggai, Zerrubabbel, and Joshua and the key place is Jerusalem.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      Right Priorities

God had given the Jews the assignment to finish the Temple in Jerusalem when they returned from captivity. After fifteen years they still had not completed it they were more concerned with their own homes than finishing God’s work. Haggai told them to get their priorities straight.

2.      God’s encouragement

Haggai encouraged the people as they worked and he assured them of the divine presence of the Holy Spirit, of final victory, and the hope that the Messiah would reign.

 

Theological Outline:

God sought to warn the people to heed His Word. Not only did God warn them but He also offered promise through His servant Haggai to motivate them to follow God. Because the people of God reversed their priorities and failed to put God in first place in their lives, Judah was sent into Babylonian exile. In response to Daniel’s prayer and in fulfillment of God’s promise then God directed Cyrus the Persian king to direct the Jews to go back to Judah from exile. A group of Jews about 50,000 returned to their land with great joy. They put God first in their lives and worshiped Him and began to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem without the aid of the people who lived in Palestine. Their courageous faith was met with opposition from the local people as well as the Persian government for approximately fifteen years. This opposition as well as several poor harvest in a row, and the broken walls of Jerusalem, caused the people to center their attention on their own personal needs rather than the work of God. In light these circumstances the Jews could choose between several possible alternatives;

1.      They could give up their old theological priorities, compromise and intermarry with the local inhabitants of Palestine who worshiped other gods. This practice might ease the tension and possibly bring some financial assistance and possibly bring cooperation from the Persians.

2.      They could give up the idea of rebuilding the Temple destroyed by the Babylonians or decide to wait until more people returned from exile and a new Persian king came to rule and the people’s financial situation looked more positive.

3.      They could continue to concentrate on improving their own lot, maintain a general commitment to religious practices but not really stick their neck out in any kind of radical way and try to be tolerant and peaceable with those who opposed them.

4.      They could renew their commitment to God and rebuild the Temple.

Haggai sought to challenge the people of God concerning their priorities. He called them to reverence and show their love for God by glorifying God and rebuilding the Temple in spite of local and official opposition. This new Temple would not be as glorious as Solomon’s Temple was. He encouraged them to turn from the uncleanness of their ways and trust in God’s power. The people believed God’s promises and demonstrated their reverence for God and began to rebuild. God dramatically fulfilled His promise by providing for their every need for soon the Persians gave official support for rebuilding the Temple, they commanded the local inhabitants not to interfere with the Jews and even paid the full cost for finishing the Temple building. Haggai gave hope to the people by emphasizing these three doctrines;

1.      God is in control of all the nations of the earth and can remove all opposition to His work.

2.      The people of God need to reject a defeatist attitude and act on the basis of God’s promises.

3.      God will bless those who strive for purity and give priority to His design.

 

How Haggai applies to us today:

It draws attention to common problems most people face even today although setting and culture are different it is not that difficult to identify with Haggai’s situation. And Haggai calls us to examine our priorities to see if we are more interested in our own pleasures than doing the work of God. We should reject the defeatist attitude when we run into opposition or discouraging circumstances. We have the assurance that God is with always and is in full control of our circumstances and rest in His hands knowing that He will abundantly bless us we faithfully serve Him.

 

Timeline Application:

538BC – Cyrus’s decree that the exiles could return

537BC - the exiles returned to Jerusalem

536BC – Temple construction began

530BC – Temple work was halted

520BC – Haggai, Zechariah, become prophets and the Temple work is resumed

516BC – Temple work completed

520BC – Haggai written, he wrote about the time the Temple work was resumed.

 

Zechariah

The purpose of Zechariah was to give hope to God’s people by revealing God’s future deliverance through the Messiah. The author is Zechariah and the key people are Zerubabbel and Joshua. The key place is Jerusalem.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      God’s Jealousy

God was angry with His people for rejecting His prophets through the years and He was concerned that they not follow the false leaders who exploited them. Disobedience was the cause of their misery and God was jealous for their devotion to Him

2.      Rebuild the Temple

The Jews were discouraged they were free from exile yet the Temple was not completed, so Zechariah encouraged them to rebuild it. God would protect and empower the workman through His Holy Spirit to carry out the work.

3.      King Is Coming

The Messiah will come to both secure people from sin and to reign as king. He will establish His kingdom, conquer all His enemies, and rule over all the earth.

4.      God’s Protection

There was opposition to God’s plan in Zechariah’s day and he prophesied future times of trouble; but God’s Word endures and He cares for His people and will deliver them from all the world powers that oppress them.

 

Theological Outline:

In the early days after the exile from about 539-520BC, the people of Judah faced the following set of questions.

1.      Why had God punished His people by sending their leaders into exile in 597 and 587BC?

2.      Why had the people not prospered after they had returned from Babylon?

3.      What did God have in mind for His people in the future?

4.      What did they need to do to reap future blessings?

The exiles returned to the land with little money, no Temple, and no priesthood. Peasants had been left behind to cultivate the land of their former masters in 587BC and so what happened was that the peasants and those returning competed over the same property and perhaps over religious leadership as well. In addition the land experienced a famine. Finally when the Persian emperors died Cambeses and Darius I had to defeat Gotoma to claim the throne in 521BC, the people also confronted political instability. So faced with all of this the people had several options they could look at;

1.      They could follow the lead of many smaller countries of the Persian Empire and rebel against the empire.

2.      They could give up in view of the fact of the famine and that most exiles had not returned from Babylon, they might have thought God was unable or unwilling to care for His people.

3.      They could continue to put themselves first and God second. The result of this option more than likely would have been to break into factions considering the tiny community. Judah against Jerusalem, peasants against city dwellers and so on

4.      Trust God and follow His plans as revealed through Haggai and Zechariah.

***see notes ATS course – Zechariah ***

 

How Zechariah applies to us today:

The book reminds us that God expects sincere worship and moral living of us today. Zechariah’s example of breaking through national prejudice reminds us to reach out to all areas of our society.

 

 

Timeline Application:       

520-518BC – chapters 1-8 were written

480BC – chapters 9-14 were written

 

Malachi

The purpose of Malachi was to confront the people of their sins and to restore them to God. The author was Malachi and the key people are Malachi and Jews and the key places are Jerusalem and the Temple.

 

Major Theological Themes:

1.      God’s Love

God loves His people even when they disobey Him, He has great blessings to bestow on those who are faithful to Him.

2.      Sin of the priests

Malachi singled out the priests for condemnation they knew what God required yet their sacrifices were unworthy, their services were insincere, and they were lazy and arrogant and insensitive. They had a casual attitude toward the worship of God and His standards.

3.      The sin of the people

The people had not learned from the sin of the exile nor listened to the prophets, men were callously divorcing their faithful wives to marry younger pagan women. This was against God’s law because it disobeyed His commands about marriage and threatened the religious training of the children. But pride had hardened the hearts of the people.

4.      The Lord’s Coming

God’s love for His faithful people is demonstrated by the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah will lead the people to the realization of all their fondest hopes. It will be a day of comfort and healing for the faithful few and a day of judgment for all who reject Him.

 

 

 

Theological Outline:

The people who made the trip back to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon initially desired to restore the nation and rebuild the Temple. Before very many years they once again began to dishonor God’s name and to forsake the laws of God therefore God sent Ezra to bring the people back to a covenant relationship with Him. A few years later Nehemiah came to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and Ezra again challenged the people to revive their fear of God and separate themselves from foreign influences. Somewhere around the time of Nehemiah or shortly thereafter some of God’s people divorced their Hebrew wives and intermarried with foreigners. The priests failed to teach the people reverence of God and many did not honor God with proper sacrifices or tithes. Some questioned God’s love and others began to wonder if it really paid to fear God and serve Him. In light of these circumstances the Jews could choose between several possible alternatives.

1.      They could continue to disrespect God with improper sacrifices and refuse to tithe and divorce their wives and marry with unbelievers and to blame God for not loving them and blessing them.

2.      They could turn from their evil ways and become strict observers of the Law of Moses hoping God, would be impressed by their zealous good works.

3.      They could form an alternative community to prepare the way for the message of the Lord to come to His Temple to judge the wicked and to bring the kingdom of God.

4.      They could confess their sins and revitalize their stewardship before God.

So in this situation Malachi administered the word of the Lord using a unique question and answer style of interaction with his listeners. He sought to challenge the people concerning their lack of honor and respect for God when they worshiped at the Temple. To rebuke the priest for not instructing the people and also to plead with the people to confess their sins and return to God so that God could bless them and to assure the righteous and wicked that God is a God of justice.

 

How Malachi applies to us today:

Malachi touches on issues that are relevant to our own situation in the church today and he asks us to take a careful look at our concept of God and evaluate if we truly reverence Him as king in our lives. Malachi asks us to honor God with the best that we have in worship and tithes. He asks us to confess where we have failed to magnify His name and return to Him in humility. He asks us to be faithful to God and our marriage relationship and finally Malachi assures us that God sees when we honor and serve Him and will richly bless us.

 

Timeline Application:

430BC – book of Malachi written

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Testament Prophecies About The Messiah Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

 

Where it is prophesied in the OT                    Where it is fulfilled in the NT

Gen. 3:15 – the seed of a woman……………………..…Gal. 4:4

Gen. 12:3 – seed of Abraham…………………….…..….Matt. 1:1

Gen. 17:19 – seed of Isaac…………………………….....Luke 3:34

Num. 24:17 – seed of Jacob…………………………..….Matt. 1:2

Gen. 49:10 – tribe of Judah……………………………....Luke 3:33

Is. 9:7 – heir to the Throne of David…………………..…Luke 1:32,33

Micah – 5:2 – born in Bethlehem……………………..….Luke 2:4,5,7

Daniel 9:25 – time of His birth………………………..….Luke 2:1,2

Is. 7:14 – born of a Virgin………………………………...Luke 1:26,27,30,31

Jer. 31:15 – slaughter of the innocent…………………….Matt. 2:16-18

Hos. 11:1 – flight to Egypt………………………………..Matt. 2:14-15

Mal. 3:1 – preceded by a forerunner……………………...Luke 7:24,27

Psalm 2:7 – declared the Son of God……………………..Matt. 3:17

Is. 9:1,2 – prophecy of Galilean ministry………………...Matt. 4:13-16

Duet. 18:15 – He will be a Prophet…………………….…Acts 3:20,22

Is. 61:1-2 – He is to heal the brokenhearted……………....Luke 4:18-19

Is. 53:3 – rejected by the Jews…………………………….John 1:11/Luke 23:18

Psalm 110:4 – priest after the order of Melchizedek……...Heb. 5:5-6

Zech. 9:9 – Triumphal entry……………………………….Mark 11:7,9,11

Psalm 41:9 – betrayed by a friend…………………………Luke 22:47-48

Zech. 11:12 – sold for thirty pieces of silver………………Matt. 26:15

Psalm 35:11 – accused by false witnesses…………………Mark 14:57-58

Is. 53:7 – silent before them………………………………..Mark 15:4-5

Is. 50:6 – smitten…………………………………………...Matt. 26:67

Psalm 35:19 – hated without reason………………………..John 15:24-25

Is. 53:5 – vicarious sacrifice………………………………..Romans 5:6,8

Is. 53:12 – crucified with malefactors………………………Mark 15:27-28

Zech. 12:10 – pierced through His hands and feet………….John 20:27

Psalm 22:7-8 – scorned and mocked………………………..Luke 23:35

Psalm 69:21 – given vinegar and gall……………………….Matt. 27:34

Psalm 109:4 – prayer for His enemies………………………Luke 23:34

Psalm 22:17-18 – soldiers gamble for His cloak……………Matt. 27:35-36

Psalm 34:20 – none of His bones will be broken…………...John 19:32,33,36

Zech. 12:10 – His side will be pierced……………………...John 19:34

Is. 53:9 – He shall be buried with the rich…………………..Matt. 27:57-60

Psalm 16:10/Psalm 49:15 – He will be resurrected…………Mark 16:6-7

Psalm 68:18 – His ascension to God’s right hand…………..Mark 16:19/I Cor. 15:4

                                                                                                Eph. 4:8